Merumaya Treatment Toner: I Am Converted

15 Sep

MERUMAYA tonerI have not been a fan of toners. Don’t know why… I think I reckoned that they were unnecessary, that my cleansing regime was just fine, thanks, and that I didn’t need anything else pre-night serum/cream.

Wellllllll — I’ve changed my mind. I like Merumaya’s Treatment Toner loads, and I wouldn’t be without it now. {If nothing else, using it shows me if I’ve done a proper job cleansing.}{Which, sadly, I mostly do not, but that’s another post waiting to happen.}{NOT that I’m using this to cleanse because that is, of course, a no-no!}

I found this great for my pores, which I am not angsting over all that much, but am happy enough to keep shrunken. I’m also happy with the hydrating feeling I get when I use it, and the way it interacts with the brand’s Iconic Youth Serum — my skin feels like silk after using them both, and more importantly, it still feels that way upon waking.

The brand have a deal on their site that I think is worth investigating if you are unfamiliar with them: the Skin Essentials Intro Set includes the Iconic Youth Serum, Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF 15, both in 15mls, and 100mls of Melting Cleansing Balm < this is so good, I feel like going and cleaning my face right this second. It’s £24.95; if you’re ordering from Ireland, shipping is the same as the UK (£3.95).

I talk about how I used up the serum all up, here; within, there’s also a link to a Q&A I did with brand founder Maleka Dattu, as well!


I’m On Someone Else’s Virtual Patch Today!

12 Sep

Please to patronise this lovely blog, A Small Press Life, for which I was asked to complete a questionnaire about books and reading. Here’s the link — I thoroughly enjoyed doing it!

Everyone should answer more questionnaires, as a matter of course. Makes ya think — and remember…


Snap! Judgement: L’Occitane Fouette Hand and Body Cream

12 Sep

I am totes not fou about hand creams, and really, really not a fan of shea butter.

But, this:
L'OCCITANE FOUETTE hand‘Fouette’ means ‘whipped’ French, and that’s just a great word. It actually sounds whippy — in French, anyway.

As I’m not a fan, I admit I approach hand creams with a sort resigned ‘whatever’ attitude. Well, I loved this on contact. It is so light that I didn’t feel like my hands got all slimy or that it was going to takes ages to absorb. It didn’t! It sank right in, and hang on, I’ve got to put on some more —

When you squeeze to dispense, it makes a sound like whipped cream out of a can, too! < That may be an American thing, not sure. You do have to move fairly quickly to get every inch of your hands covered, but I am happy with that. Done and dusted — or mositurised — in seconds.

Can’t wait to get stuck in with this, then!*


Hand Cream: €10.50; Body Cream: €22


*I totally cheated and tried it and didn’t write about it immediately, which mitigates the whole snap judgement thing, but I really like it. It, too, has a crackly sort of sound that it makes when you scoop it out of the tin, and it smells fresh and soapy in the cleanest possible sense. Tiny tin, though…


In Other News: The Limerick Giant and Me

9 Sep

I just published this here. It’s not about beauty, but here’s a selfie!


Love At First Night: L’Oréal Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil and Cream

8 Sep

AGE PERFECT oil Sometimes it takes me a while to work something into the schedule. Everyone loves a launch, but it’s rarely ever practical for me to post right away, or to try something out immediately — unless I fall in love with it at first sight — or in this case, at first smell, and at first touch.

I love oils: I’ve got stuff for my scalp all the way down to my toes, and I especially love love love facial oils. It is absolutely not like the oil you cook with, which I think has to be said — I know it’s the first thing that came to mind when these sorts of things started flying into the post box. Facial oils are fluid, for sure, but they have a slightly dry second touch, and when they absorb correctly, you have the luxuriousness of that fluidity, but you don’t have to wait hours for it to sink in.

By ‘second touch’, I mean: you put some on your hand, and think ‘Ooh, oily!’ and then it almost instantly starts to feel substantial. Like, it’s not going to just drip off of your face. L’Oréal Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil does that, and one stopperful of product — gorgeous, delicious-smelling product — covers the entire face and neck, and turns your skin to silk.

And then you wake up it still feels silky, and clean, and fresh. And then! You get to continue the good work you’ve begun with the brand’s Extraordinary Facial Cream. AGE PERFECT cream pot I know that the image had been styled, but in fact, the cream feels like that — like a soufflé for the face, all light and fluffy.

Fluffy face cream — surely it’s A Thing just waiting to happen.

I think that what we deem to be quality in a product — and what determines the cost, or what we are thought to be willing it pay — has everything to do with texture. Both of these win in the texture sweepstakes: both feel rich and in comparison with some products that I get to try, are truly reasonably priced. With RRPs of €25.99 for the oil and €22.99 for the cream, it’s manageable in the extreme. Also, pricier products can always be justified thanks to the truism ‘a little goes a long way’, and both of these adhere to that.

As rare as it is for me to immediately rotate something into the routine, it is equally so that I turf through that something at a rate of knots. I am turfing through these something fierce. I can’t recommend this duo more highly — and for mature faces? Yer only woman.


Available at your local chemists.


B&B! Q&A: Ellen Kavanagh of Waxperts

1 Sep

ELLEN KAVANAGH Ellen Kavanagh is the brains behind Waxperts — not only the salon in Dun Laoghaire (represent!) but also the brand in general, which includes her bespoke wax, and the multitasking Ingrown Hair Pads. Born and bred in Rathfarnham, she studied beauty at Coogan Bergin College of Beauty Therapy part time, and returned to do the Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie (CIDESCO) course. “I knew I had found my future,” she says.

As regards her business model, it’s pretty simple. “I am always thinking of the business from the clients point of view, first and foremost. They’re the ones getting waxed and I want it to be the most amazing wax they’ve ever had.”

I’ve got a fairly high pain threshold, and haven’t found being waxed to be too taxing — but I gotta say, my Waxperts experience was pretty amazing. I found myself actually getting sleepy towards the end of my full leg/bikini session. I had to know more about the brand — and how in the world I could possibly want to snooze during a leg wax — and so asked Ellen some Qs; here are her As…

Was there a specific ‘Aha!’ — or more like, ‘Ouch!’ — moment that lead to your developing Waxperts Original Hot Wax?
When I began working for myself, I simply couldn’t find a wax I felt was good enough for my clients. Naively, I just thought “I’ll make my own!” and that was the start of it. I had been solely waxing for 3 years full time — I’m 10yrs waxing this year! — so I had a good idea of how I wanted a wax to perform and what qualities it should have.

How does one even go about developing one’s own brand of wax?
I tried and played around with absolutely every wax on the market. So I had a clear idea of what I didn’t want! Then I researched and found a chemist to work with me formulating the technical side and then I sourced a refinery to produce the wax.

There was some back and forth, mostly to get the colour and fragrance right. We hit on our unique formula and ingredients pretty quickly, so I knew after testing a few attempts that we had perfected it. I figured if I could create a wax suitable for even the most sensitive Irish skin type, pale and red haired, it would suit everyone. And it does. It’s lower temperature, which means it’s more comfortable for clients and the composition of it means it removes coarse or fine hair in one go.

We launched our second hot wax, Rosie Pearl, earlier this year and I’ve been creating that for around a year. It was trickier but so worth it! It’s an ultra thin film wax that sets on application but remains flexible. It’s ideal for experienced waxers and warmer treatment rooms or climates. Again, there is nothing like it on the market and it’s been a huge hit. The Waxperts range has grown but we are very careful not to bring out products just for the sake of it. We focus on innovation and gaps within our own market and take it from there.

I found my experience of the Original Hot Wax to be super pain-free, and also was completely chilled at the end of the treatment. How is that even possible?
The lavender scent throughout the range sets the relaxing atmosphere. It’s not about ripping someone’s hair out. We want to out the ‘treat’ back in treatment. Waxing is the number one treatment in salons so we aim to make the procedure as amazing as possible for client and therapist. WAXPERTS Ingrown Hair Pads

What lead to the development of the Ingrown Hair Pads?
Again, it came from clients that had issues with ingrown hairs. Although getting regular Waxperts waxes helped the ingrowns improve, some clients had stubborn ones or had them on areas where they shaved instead. We tested tons of applications, like lotions and masks, but we knew it had to be easy to use daily. That’s when we decided on the pre-soaked pads.

Also, what are other uses for them, if readers don’t suffer from in-grown hairs?
The pads are pre-soaked with salycilic acid, rosemary and panthenol. Salycilic is used widely to treat acne, so they work great on breakouts and spots as well as helping to clear blackheads. Upper arm bumps can be tackled easily just by using the pads on the area daily. We get tweets from people telling us new uses they found for them all the time! They’re magic!

Any advice for future entrepreneurs?
> Find something you absolutely adore. You’re going to be working and thinking about it 24/7 and if you love it, it won’t feel it’s work.

> Trust your gut. From the moment I planned Waxperts salon I knew it was all about the brand. Having faith in that helped me grow the business solidly.

>Help others. We work hard helping and supporting our stockists so they in turn can grow their business. In fact, one of our Galway stockists has taken the distribution for Poland and we’re helping her start that new business back in her home city.


Full leg wax: €40; basic bikini: €20. See for more information.

Waxperts Ingrown Hair Pads: €9.95 on


Snap! Judgement: E45 Intense Recovery Lotion

15 Aug

E45 LOTIONI gotta say. My immediate reaction to this was, ‘Oof, that is ug.” I mean, seriously. That label looks like it was designed in Word. It is so unappealing.

Well, let that be a lesson to me: what is inside is pretty darn spectacular.

So, I guess this is a one-two Snap! Judgement, because the second I started massaging this into my skin I was all, ‘Ooh! This feels amazing!’

E45 was developed by a Boots chemist back in the 50s — this is running contrary to the usual S!J, which are more like smash and grabs, just because I knew nothing about this brand — and it was only used in hospitals until the 80s.

We had some toasty weather this summer, and I do feel that I’m drier than usual. I’ll be using this, so, and I’ll never speak badly about its label again. (But srsly…)




Update: Okay, this is not much of an S!J a’tall, but this stuff is great. I’ve been using it all week and my bod has been delighted. The fragrance-free part is really working for me, as it the texture and coverage — and it lasts! That silky feeling one gets upon immediately moisturising really, really lasts. Heart this.

THIS: IsaDora Flashing Volume Instant Effect Mascara

12 Aug

This smokey eye was discussed here; were you wondering about the mascara?
MAC QUAD lo light
It’s via IsaDora. I was a bit dubious about their Flashing Volume Instant Effect Mascara, because of the odd little end on the wand — but, of course, it’s thanks to this odd little end that you get this ridic effect.

Here is it, all by itself:

That was only two coats. I know I’veISADORA mascara wand wrestled with this before, but here I go again: I consider a coat to be the first layer of mascara you put on, not the actual first brushing of the lashes. Like, you put on as much as you can, then let it set, and go back for more. Am I wrong? I don’t think so.

Here’s the wee little ‘brush’ at the end of the wand. This is spiky like the newfangled wands we’ve come to know and love or loathe in the past few years. Maybe they’re oldfangled now? Anyway, as far as spiky wand heads go, this is teeny.

It’s perfect for those hard-to-reach spots like the inside of the eye, but I was certain that it would take an age to get this on my face, just because the brush was that small.

It didn’t. The thing is, this tiny brush is hollow, so you’re getting twice as much product with every dip. And in fact, the smallness of the brush allowed for greater precision, and quicker application.

Once the first coat set, I went back for more, it was almost too much; this got a bit gunky, but that’s what they make lash combs for, right? I learned my lesson, though and did as comprehensive a job the first round.

Look: IRL. Tiny!

Good thing, small package!




Pocket Smokey Eye: MAC Mineralize Quad in Fog & Mist

8 Aug

I will admit to having had some serious boredom this past Bank Holiday Sunday. The weather was changeable in the extreme, I’d been out and back, I was avoiding doing some work, and so I whipped this little baby out.
Why not spend a rainy, dull Bank Holiday Sunday working on my smokey eye technique?

It didn’t take much work a’tall, thanks to MAC‘s little quad of Fog & Mist goodness. I have been so reluctant to try to do The Smokey Eye on my own — seriously, even after all this time working a beauty journo, even after many professionally applied make up sessions — that I decided to risk it for a biscuit, and give this a go.

Those days are over. This is such an easy-to-use, quality product, that even a scaredy cat like me managed it.

The easy-to-use part comes in as regards texture and pigment: the colour is perfect and has just the correct amount of heft — and yet despite that heft, it is eminently buildable, and it glides on every part of your eye area gently but firmly. Further, as opposed to less-excellent brands whose powder either doesn’t adhere properly to the brush, much less the eyelid, it stays where you put it.

This looks like somebody else did it, if I do say so myself.
MAC QUAD sparkle

Some mist all over the eye, some fog in the crease, some really foggy fog under the eye, as well as some black liner on the inside lower lid, which I haven’t done since… a long time.

MAC QUAD lo light
Above, in less direct light. Even mistier and foggier! I know that quads really aren’t anything new — I’m sure I bought my first Chanel quad in art college — but having the colours all cheek-by-jowl in such a clever little compact just makes it feel even more portable. I just think this would be terrific for taking on a holiday because it’s small yet versatile. Not so terrific as you need to bring brushes along too — has anyone got a travel-sized brush set of good quality? I would very much like to know.

It lasted for the rest of that dull, rainy Bank Holiday Sunday.

Also! I swear, this increased the size of my limbal ring, which means: even more sexiness!




What’s that mascara, you ask?


Much Excite: Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector *Improved*

5 Aug

LANCOME VISIONNAIRE 2014This has been one of my favourite things since I began this blog — and I can prove it by directing you here. A part of my inaugural series of posts, Visionnaire was a big part of my night-time regime… until I had to try something else, or many, many something elses. It took on classic status, which is not bad thing, and also became something of a hoarding object. And in fairness, in the flurry of oils that had come through the post box, it got forgotten.

You can go to that link for some information about that molecule, LR2412 — or you can stay here while I report briefly that it is a creation of the Lancôme laboratories belonging to the jasmonate family. Which, okay, whatevs; the thing is, it works on the all three parts of the skin — the epidermis, basement membrane and the dermis. So this can only be a good thing.

It’s like, you’re trying to shore up the foundation of your house, but you’re only re-pointing the bricks on the façade. Not good enough. This goes all the way into the ground, as it were, and in this new formulation, they’ve doubled the amount of jasmonate, and added comb polymers which basically make the formula easier to apply, whilst giving it greater coverage.

This is all about wrinkle-smoothing, pore-reducing, and skin-refining. I very much liked what this stuff did the first time round, and I’m looking forward to putting this back in rotation to see how it works.


€74; on counter in September 2014.




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