Eye Loved This: Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream

26 Oct

Soz, couldn’t help myself, considering I resisted the hand pun last week.

ILUMA by IMAGE 1I came to eye cream late — if you are reading this and are not using it, start immediately! Right this second! This is the possibly the most delicate skin on your bod, begin to take care of it now! Go back in time and start ten years ago! … and as you can see, I have become rather evangelical about it.

Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream is one of the best I’ve ever tried.

Image Skincare is a cosmeceutical range that uses scientific method to create products that are usable by the general public that give professional results. It’s the type of brand you buy in a spa after having been treated by a pro — and I’m not gonna lie, sometimes you get the products you were inspired to buy, post-bliss, and when you get home, they just never seem to work as well, right?

I have not enjoyed a facial at the hands of a therapist trained in the use of the Image products, which in a way is better, as I can say I used this to great effect all on my own. Now, an eye cream isn’t the most labour intensive product on the market, but I can say that every morning, after having used this the night before, I saw the benefit of the brightening quality of this cream.

The evening when it was apparent that there was no more to dispense was a sad one, indeed.

But look!


That’s how desperate I am to get every ounce out of this. I’m going to hoard this for the night before a special occasion, because it is that good. At €64, you may say it had better be, but I made this last for a good six months. As ever, the better the quality, the less you use, and it really wasn’t a stretch to get that much use out of it.

Their Intense Brightening Exfoliator Powder is a winner, too — but I’ll save that for another day…


See here for an Irish stockist near you.


The No7 Advent Calendar {Deal With It}

20 Oct

Ooh, this is super fantastically gorgeous:


The 25 Days of Beauty Wonder Calendar {so not Advent, strictly speaking}: 25 days, 19 minis, six full-sized products, €49.50 — which is insane as the total value is €193. You can expect nail varnish, skin care, body care, make-up, and some of the brand’s heroes like the No7 Instant Illusions Airbrush Away Primer and the No7 Stay Perfect Amazing Eyes Pencil.

Get on the waiting list here!


Look, it’s almost Hallowe’en, okay?!?


Support Your Local 600 Year Old Business: Rathbornes 1488 Premium Scented Candles

15 Oct

When I went to Wiki to ask ‘what was the world like in 1488’, I didn’t expect to find the very thing I was Googling around about: ‘Rathbornes Candles established in Dublin; the company will still be trading into the 21st century.’ Sure, Michelangelo started his apprenticeship in Florence, and Anne of Brittany became Duchess of Brittany at age 11, but it seems amazing that a purveyor of something as mundane as candles rates a mention.

Or not, if you think about it. In a world lit only by fire, a candle was essential to people’s daily lives — if they could even afford them. The company’s history doesn’t say much about who was buying their wares {I’m guessing lords and clergy}, so I asked the oracle ‘were candles expensive in the middle ages’, and yup: priests and rich folk availed of beeswax tapers, while the general populace had to make do with smelly, animal-based tallow. After going out of fashion in the mid 19th century thanks to the invention of the light bulb, a candle-burning renaissance of sorts flared up in the mid 1980s, and has been going from strength to strength ever since.
1 wick rose

I do try not to use the ‘C’ word this early in October, but spare a thought for Rathbornes 1488 luxury line, Beyond The Pale as you begin to think about prezzies. The candles are still handcrafted, almost 600 years later, and the scents evoke the Irish landscape, with additional notes to round out the fragrances. Like, Dublin Tea Rose is totally on point, but I don’t know how much Oud or Patchouli can be found in the wild {unless you consider ‘the wild’ to be South William Street — I reckon you’d find enough of those hipster scents wafting about in that case.}

Whatever: these are stunning. When I opened the box containing the Cedar, Cloves & Ambergris candle I went ‘Oh, my God!’ It is gorgeous — and this is the travel-sized version, which I think is a pretty healthy size, considering.

RATHBORNES travel size
If you or someone you know loves the light of a candle — and the fragrance — look no further, and join in with centuries of folks who lived their lives by the light of Rathbornes. Ooh, just got a shiver!


Prices vary: €19 for 20-hour burning travel-size; €36 for 50-hour burning Classic; €54 for 60-hour burning Luxury.
Available in Brown Thomas nationwide, and at amara.com


See candles.org for more candle lore.


{Insert Hand Pun Here}*: LUSH Salted Coconut Hand Scrub

12 Oct

Back on beauty duty! I’ve been editing my ‘horse book’, which required not only fingers on the keyboard, but also mind off everything but it. Stay tuned here and here for news as to its future as a published/virtual reading object. Or book, even.

I’m not so handsy, as in, always reapplying hand creams or worrying about manual moisture. A manicurist once told me that my hands were LUSH salted coconutnaturally hydrated, which explained why a dose of hand cream never really seemed to make a difference. Exfoliating/scrubbing, though? I’m always up for a good scrub.

Enter Salted Coconut Hand Scrub by LUSH. I am quite addicted: the scrub is gentle if you dampen your hands first, or slightly rougher if you use it on dry paws. The latter is my preferred application. Post-rinsing with water, it’s like you’ve gotten your baby hands back — so soft! The sea salt gets in there and dispenses with dead skin, while the coconut oil makes sure that the skin that’s been uncovered does not dry out.

LUSH hand scrub inside
It’s not the prettiest looking petal on the product flower, but it’s terrifically effective. I’m following the same exfoliation rules with this as I would with any other scrubby stuff, and use it three times a week max, but am not sure whether or not that matters. YMMV, and if you have very sensitive skin, I’d suggest going to a local LUSH shop and trying it out before you commit.

Also, it smells exactly like Play-Doh, which could go either way for people. I love it!




*Did that on purpose


I Used It All Up: Payot Paris Design Lift Visage

31 Aug

I have never done this before. STG: I’ve never used up a face cream down to the very bottom.
What was it about this that made me keep turning to it? I asked myself…

This was out where you could see it every day — did that have something to do with it? Eh, maybe. I’ve got several creams in various states of use in the top drawer of a dresser, bu they are out of sight. They may have been out of mind. I think it’s more than that, though.

It doesn’t look any different to anything else you’ve used in the past. I know! So I just googled it: this has got calcium in it, as well as the fashionable Omega 3 and 6, and to quote is also contains ‘Payot’s new pepti-oriza calcium complex combined with a relaxing rice extract works at the heart of the cells to reactivate the skin’s vital functions and restore its elasticity in-depth’.

Okay. No, I know, so many words. Seriously, though, I used this after I applied serum, and I felt like this acted in perfect accord with said serum. It felt like it absorbed really quickly, but also left my skin feeling well-hydrated. Sometimes I feel like a day cream and a serum don’t mix very well — this one worked with a number of different brands.

I think it’s enough that you obviously used it all up. Well, maybe. I mean, it is expensive: I found prices from €60-80 for 50mls. But I will also say that it took me 6 months to use it all up through daily use. The serum helped it stretch, I think — let that be a lesson to us all!

Do you miss it? I do! And there is a nighttime version of it, I’d love to see if knocks out my current faves {which are: Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil, Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream and Clarins’ Mission Perfection Serum. Things are the same at night as they are in the day, apparently.} That would be quite the knock to the pocket, however.

Honestly, now: any difference to the face at all? Look, taking care of your skin is a cumulative, not an instantaneous process. I exfoliate, I get facials, I tend to it day and night. I gotta say, though, those brackets around my mouth that I am not crazy about? I have hardly noticed them. Could it be from this cream? It could — sure, we’ll see if my face falls off now that I’ve no more…


Prices varied wildly, and I couldn’t even find one in sterling, so YMMV.


UPDATE: It’s been discontinued, which explains the above, I guess. I understand that this is a more than reasonable facsimile.


I Try Before You Buy: Fragrances from Jo Malone, Clinique, GHOST girl, The Body Shop and 007 for Women,

25 Aug

Tricky! Although we do have FR.ed, the virtual fragrance editor, who might help us choose a new scent for another based that others’ current preferences, I don’t know how much faith I’d have in myself as regards choosing a new EDP for a pal. Here are some scents for your consideration, and for dropping hints…

JO MALONE Mimosa & Cardamom
€52 {30ml} ****
This is a ‘floriental’, a word that I wish I’d made up myself: sweet but mysterious, as a good combination of a floral and an oriental should be. As with all of the new ‘flavours’ coming of Jo Malone in the last few years, I love this for layering, for using on top of one of the anchor fragrances — like Lime Basil & Mandarin. The combo of new with classic in this instance is perfection, a multitude of notes that blend beautifully into a symphony of deliciousness. I am inspired to flight of fancy, clearly. On its own, it needs a frequent top up, if you’re me and tend to use a lotta scent and want to smell it all day long.

CLINIQUE Aromatics in White
€70 {50ml} ****
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, an essential part of the Clinique Bonus Days offering was a purse-sized sample of their Aromatics EDP. I wasn’t mad for it: it felt that bit too heavy, and old-lady-ish. The majority of its ingredients — patchouli, ylang ylang, sage — are actual favourites of mine, so that just added to the disappointment. However! This new blend is absolutely delighful, fresh and light. It’s still got a hint of the darker, chypre notes, like that patchouli, but is now lightened up by orange blossom and enriched with vanilla. I find its staying power to be only medium, but otherwise, I love it.

€34.50 {30ml} ***
I think it’s time to start thinking about the teens and tweens on your Christmas lists {soz!} and I can’t imagine anything more appropriate than this. The classic fragrance brand are adding a youthful scent to their line, and this is as young as it gets: it’s got a sharp, bright, fruity initial tone that only reluctantly deepens into something richer. The dry down is like watching an adolescent who has been told to go upstairs to do her homework take… each… step… one… at… a… time. This is entirely appropriate for a youthful fragrance. My inner teen thinks she’d probably wear this, so it’s all good. Tiny bit pricey for girls on a budget, though.FRAGRANCE 25 08

THE BODY SHOP Italian Summer Fig
€29.95 {50ml} ***
This is yummy with a bit of a bite. The first time I used it I felt like it was too much, that I couldn’t not smell it. That may have been because I was chained to my desk that day, and didn’t move around much, out in the world. When I did wear it under less housebound conditions, I felt like I couldn’t smell it at all. This surely lies somewhere in the middle. I reckon that if you add in the Italian Summer Fig Body Cream {or the lotion, shower gel or mist!} you’ll get a longer-lasting run for your money. Also, this is woody and musky enough for a dude, although the faceted glass bottle is pretty girly.

€36 {50ml} ***
This is a pure oriental, akin {according to Fr.ed} to Chanel Noir. Funnily enough, I am not mad about that member of the Chanel fam, but I do like this Lady Bond scent. This is quite fierce, in a good way: it comes on strong and stays fairly strong-ish. It’s vanilla-y with some florals in there somewhere, which didn’t really strike me as holding their own. I heart the bottle design loads, which appeals to my inner lady-who-sits-at-a-vanity-table: had I actually a vanity table, this would add a bit of dark sexiness to it.


Beautyfull News: Clarins Paris, L’Occitane, Aldi, Rimmel London, Nuxe Paris

24 Aug

CLARINS PARIS Joli Rouge Moisturizing, Long-Wearing LipstickCLARINS joli rouge
€22 Paired with their range of new, neutral Lipliner Pencils {€17.50}, this collection of 25 revamped hues is bound to be an autumnal go-to. Because I’m a divil for deleting photos on my phone and can’t be arsed to connect to the cloud or whatever, here’s a screenshot of the Insta I took on the day I wore Delicious Pink, which lives up to its name. The lipliners come in Nude Fair/Beige/Rose/Mocha, to suit the range of skin tones from fair to dark. I went for the lightest to go with the pink; it was fine, and frankly, it was nicer on its own. I imagine they’ll come in handy the further you head towards the dark end of the spectrum. I found the lipstick to be lovely: light, long-wearing, and in the case of this particular colour, as shiny as it looks in the photo. Perfect for people who’d prefer to wear their lippy, rather than have it wearing them.

L'OCCITANE hermeL’OCCITANE Pierre Hermé Limited Edition Fragrance Collections
€10-56 Speaking of delicious! Monsieur Hermé is a pastry chef, and has collaborated with the Provençal brand to create two new ‘flavourfull’ fragrances. There’s Jasmin-Immortelle-Neroli, a flowery bend for those who wouldn’t normally go for something sweet. I find you can never go wrong with Neroli, it’s really gives one’s spirits a lift. For those who like something zestier, there’s the Pamplemousse-Rhubarbe which I also like: it’s as crisp as can be, and with its cedar and vetiver notes, can shared with your fella. The range ranges from lipgloss at a tenner to €56 for the EDTs. The packaging is delightful, and the gift sets at €72 are perfect for holiday gift giving sans an in-your-face-this-is-a-Christmas-gift vibe.

ALDI Lacura Expert RangeALDI expert eye gel
€5.99 That’s the price for all the products in the line — pretty good! There’s an Expert Wrinkle Smoother, an Expert Beautifying Serum, and an Expert Double Effect Eye Gel, and all are infused with Mimox®X, an active complex that helps encourage the skin to regenerate its own collagen and elastin fibres. NGL, I don’t know how that actually happens, but hyaluronic acid is implicated, which is still all the buzz as far as anti-ageing is concerned. I have given them all a go, and am pleased with the eye gel especially: it’s cooling and soothing, and it’s also a bit of a pick-me-up of a sleepy morning. I am also impressed by the serum, which gives great coverage and absorbs like a shot.

RIMMEL LONDON Match Perfection FoundationRIMMEL match perfection
€10.29 I prefer the coverage of the 24hr version of Rimmel’s foundation range. This promises invisible coverage to create invisible pores; my skin is in excellent nick, and I feel like this didn’t really do it justice. If you have skin like a newborn baby and want to look even more perfect, then this might suit. So basically: younger skins may get loads of joy out of this; less young, maybe not so much. I also found that I feel somewhere between the two lightest hues, with neither of them being… a perfect match.

NUXE PARIS Splendieuse Radiance-Activating, Anti-Dark Spot Range
€30-38 I suspect that the word ‘splendieuse’ is along the lines ‘fabilicious’ in English; it is, in fact, a combination of ‘splendid’ and ‘radiant’. I say go for it, Nuxe: make up all the words you like, as long as you keep expanding your lines of skincare. This targets dark spots, and boosts the radiance of the complexion, all the while smelling gorgeous and feeling luxurious — far more luxurious than you might think you’d get at that price. There’s a fluid for normal skin, a cream for dry skin, a serum, and the pièce de résistance, which is the Anti-Dark Spot Perfecting Mask, an actual mask that you lay one your face and gently press against the skin. One got passed around at the launch and it felt rich with product — in fact, it’s infused with what amounts to almost the entire bottle of 30mls of serum; even holding the box, you can feel how heavy they are. As ever, all of these take their effectiveness from natural ingredients and there are no animal-origins ingredients involved. Check back here for an in-depth review of that mask! {Look at the drawing at the bottom left — I die!} CLARINS perfecting mask


I Try Before You Buy: Maybelline New York, Bourjois, Garnier, Skinceuticals, Origins

10 Aug

Rather a mixed bag this week! It’s all very face-y, though, so there is something of a defining principle.

MAYBELLINE NEW YORK The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, €14.99
This is seriously amazing. The range covers everything from day to night, and is organised so that you can easily pair them {use a top hue with the one directly beneath it, and 01 MAYBELLINEthere’s your duo} or even quad them. I decided to give it a try as I was going to be out all day working in an office, and when I got home, it was as if no time had passed. this is like Back To The Future for your eyelids… or something time-travelly like that. From matte to shimmer, this has got you covered, and I was so seriously impressed by its staying power — without eyelid primer! — that I can’t recommend this enough. This is also perfect for those among us who fear attempting the black smokey eye at home. You can get as sexy a result with shades of brown!

BOURJOIS PARIS 12hr Aqua Blush, €12.49
The less powder on the face during a heatwave the better, but do you really need a blusher when rosiness in the cheeks is reaching critical 04 BOURJOISmass? I’m loving this addition to the Bourjois line, and yes, it’s nice to add a pop of colour, especially this lightweight wash — there’s a big difference between a heat flush and blush! Dispensing it is tricky as a full pump is enough for three faces; I’ve fine-tuned an action to a 1/4 of a pump that manages to release the tiniest dab, which still gives good coverage. Wait until your foundation is fully set, though, otherwise this tends to melt it a bit and move it around. Comes in Ingenude, CocoRicorial, Pink Twice and Berry Nice {self-explanatory, I would think.}

GARNIER PureActive Matte Control Anti-Shine03 GARNIER Anti-Blemish Moisturiser, €14.99
I wasn’t really sure what this was trying to be: is just a moisturiser, or is it a primer, too? That anti-shine element felt like it applied to the latter, but my first usage felt like it was falling down on the side of moisturising — that is, I used way too much. This too is a great thing for the days of heat, if you can call them to mind at all: a little bit goes a long way under a BB cream, allowing for some blurred lines but not blocked pores, and for your BB to stay in place. Still, I wasn’t overly wowed, due to its neither-here-nor-there texture.

A restorative concentrate for damaged/ageing lips, this is a creme, which created a moment of cognitive dissonance; it is also a pump, which created a moment of ‘How much of this product am I going to waste?’ I’ve tried lip creams in the past, and the texture has always given me the shivers; here, though, it absorbs at just the correct speed, so it’s not like there’s this gross layer of goop on your mouth. I am not cray about the pump, and I don’t think this will make it into my handbag, but I’ve got it to hand at the keyboard, and I’ve been going to it for the last week. In fact, I’ve just popped some on because I was trying out a lippy that was so drying it was all I could do to actually get it off my mouth. This is replenishing much needed moisture, even as I type. This is perfect for an intensive treatment that’s a treat!

ORIGINS Original Skin Re05 ORIGINStexturizing Mask with Rose Clay, €35
Clay? Yay! I love a good clay mask! This is practically an express mask, it dries so quickly — and yet, it does not dry out the skin. When removing, the addition of water turns it into a gentle exfoliation experience. I was worried about the beads that were so clearly acting as the exfoliating agent, but upon research have discovered that they are jojoba beads and are biodegradable, which I take to mean that they will disintegrate naturally and not poison our planet. This now shares room in my heart with their Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask — oh, and their Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask! I am in love with Origin masks, clearly.


Bank Holiday Spa Staycation: All the Stuff I Never Have Time To Do

4 Aug

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND… or rather, some of the stuff I never have time to do. It’s mainly those oils that get short shrift in the regime, which is a pity because I loooove oils and I love the deep moisturising kind of thing that they produce.

Let’s start from the left, though, just to keep everything organised.

The Clinique Sonic {which I pronounce in my head as ‘Sonique’, surely a missed opportunity for the marketing heads} has launched a Massage Treatment Applicator {€25} to go with their new Sculptwear Contouring Massage Cream Mask {€48} and I think it is just terrific. This new applicator, which is metal and was developed by dermatologists, feels like it is doing the work of those sorts of facials that inject serum into the skin. This wouldn’t have exactly that function, but using the Sonic to make sure that you’re getting the fullest benefit of the mask is a no-brainer: it gets the product deeper into your skin than your fingers can do.

The scent is gorgeous  and my skin looked fresh and vibrant, but the 50ml tub feels a little tiny, as I felt I used a little more product than I would under normal, non-vibrating-applicator circumstances, but that’s my only criticism < which, in fairness, isn’t negligible, but given the result, I think I can cope.

I am sucker for a cult product, and La Roche-Posay’s Serozinc {€10} certainly qualifies, with the number of women who have had to stock up on this whilst abroad can attest. I don’t suffer from blemish-prone skin, but I do like the odd pore-tightening {TWSS} and this toner promises to do just that. I found myself giving myself the odd spray every time I passed, and the refreshment was of the highest order. I’ve never really gotten into the ‘spray spring water on your face’ thing that has been made famous by other French spas — and the weather certainly hasn’t been roasting enough to encourage that practice — but I am so lazy with toning that I’m hoping I get into the habit with this. Dat price, tho: best value for a toner of any stripe.

I loved the results I got from label.m‘s Brightening Blonde range, and I have to say it may be replaced in my affections by their Honey & Oat line. The shampoo {€14.97} and conditioner {€18.64} are the bomb, although I do find that the conditioner doesn’t do the best job of making my tangle-y tresses easier to untangle. Luckily, the Treatment Mask does a better job, and I did a good job using it — I left it on for a good long while in the shower, and my hair felt like silk when I dried it. LABEL M HAIRLooked like it too, without any styling: just a good blast dry and brushing, and my highlights look rejuvenated as well. I’ll have to be using more of the conditioner than I’d like, perhaps, but I am very happy with this trio. And smelling like a delicious autumnal bowl of porridge is no bad thing, either.

Onto the oils! There’s nothing like applying a scented oil to a damp bod, but who has time for this in the normal run of a week? Not me, so I took advantage of allll the time at my disposal and lashed on Neom‘s new 3-in-1 Face, Body & Hair Oil {€43 RRP}. I tried the Daily Boost version, that comes infused with Wild Mint & Mandarin: On wet skin, a little goes a long way, and two days later, my pelt still feels nice and silky. I am wary of things that say they can go all over you, and haven’t been brave enough to try it on the hair, or the face, TBH.

I was more than happy to use No7‘s Youthful Replenishing Oil on my visage, obvs, and put this on fresh out of the shower as well. Loaded with rosehip and jojoba, and Vitamins C, E and A, I put some on before bed too, which I am sure is something that a beauty expert might caution against — one may get too much of a good thing, mightn’t one? — but I didn’t care. My face didn’t fall off, so.

Vichy Laboratoires have revamped their Pureté Thermale range, and I liked the look of the One Step Cleanser {€14.99} — although, again, not sure that using it to remove eye make up, the third element in the 3 in 1, would be something that I’d attempt. I hate creamy cleaners on my eyes. Otherwise, I found this very effective, even though I only used it once at the beginning of this whole process. It’s kind of scary how, even when you think you’ve done everything to cleanse your skin, there’s still pesky bits of foundation stuck in your pores. This did a good job of getting the leftovers off, and I’ll be bringing it into my usual schedule.

But now, it is the dreaded post-Bank Holiday Tuesday… once more into the breach, my friends!


You can find label.m on http://www.lookfantastic.com or on http://www.kaos.ie.




Dr Rescue to the… Rescue

21 Jul

I make no secret of the fact that my nails are manky: my nail beds are shallow, my cuticles grow like weeds, and now that splitting has entered to repertoire, they are simply hopeless. Can this new line of nail product from Maybelline make a difference?
I love the idea of a ‘lip’ balm for my cuticles and SOS Balm Nail + Cuticle Care is new one on me, and the promise to moisture brittle nails is one that I’m going to hold it to.
DR RESCUE the balm
The actual application is slightly awkward given the flat surface, which doesn’t glide as well as it ought. Applying some to a finger and transferring it to another finger is a fair enough solution, if slightly messy. After one round, though, my cuticles were shiny with health, so that makes up for the awk.
DR RESCUE all in one
There is a separate Gel Effect Base Coat which provides the look of lacquer and a CC Top Coat which helps to whiten and brighten the nails, but if I can do something All-In-One, that is always going to be my choice. This is a base, top and treatment and it’s the way I’m going to go.

At €5.99 for each, you can DIY your manicure for about the same price as you would in salon, if not cheaper. We’ll see how my manky nails and I get on!



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