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I Try Before You Buy: Oil-based Skincare {+One Of These Things is Not Like the Others}

30 Nov

There’s mixed intel as to whether or not facial oils are good for oily skin: logic would say, ‘Eh, no they’re not,’ but I’ve read various articles and reviews that claim that oily skin is working overtime to make oil, so if you use an oil, it lets your complexion off the hook and it can relax. I’d love to hear if anyone has personal experience of this notion — good or not so good!

Me, I ♥♥♥ oils to the moon and back, so speaking of outer space, there are a lot of stars this week.

01 CLINIQUECLINIQUE Smart Treatment Oil, €44 {30ml}
I couldn’t get enough of the brand’s Turnaround oil, so when I used it all up, I was happy that this one was waiting in the wings. I love it just as much, and find it ‘dry’ enough to use in the day, which is not always the case. This is a triple anti-oxidant blend that’s fragrance-free, and it’s gentle enough for those who suffer from roseacea. I keep this by the bedside and put on lashings of it before bed, and awake with a new face.

03 DARPHINDARPHIN PARIS 8-Flower Nectar Oil Cream, €91.65 {15ml}
Eep! That is pricey, but the cream is so rich, you won’t need or want to use too much. It would be like bingeing on fudge, or something. Every time I’ve used this, I have slept the sleep of the just, that is: I fell asleep immediately and stayed that way all through the night, and woke feeling like I’d been to some 04 LE MARAclass of dreamtime spa. Oh, and my skin looked radiant, a certain combination of the unbroken rest and the 280 petals from those 8 flowers that provide the aromatic essence.

LÉ MARA IRISH ORGANIC SEAWEED Miracle Facial Oil, €4.99 {150ml}
Here’s the opposite end of the spectrum: can anything that’s less than a fiver be any good? It is when it’s packed full of all sorts of goodness — from vitamin E to oat oil to primrose oil and bunch of anti-oxidants. The pump-action dispenser is pure genius, although it is better to spray in the palms than directly in the face {learned the hard way so you don’t have to.} This too is a mid-day, staying-in kind of treat, and it leaves behind a glorious glow. Bargain of the week — maybe of the year!

No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, €30.50 {30ml}05 No7
This seems almost too oily at first. I put that down to my own dispensing technique, which = using tonnes of product. Less is very much more here, and while I’m still not convinced that this is a good idea for me to apply in the a.m., I love it in the middle of a day in which I am hunkering down, not going anywhere, and ready for treat.06 TRILOGY

TRILOGY CoQ10 Booster Oil, €40 {20ml}
This is like a luxurious spa facial treatment right in your own home. It is far too heavy for use in the day, IMHO, but at nighttime, it is like the angels have wrung elixir from their wings for you to apply to your skin. Awake with a glow that wouldn’t look out of place whilst shepherds guard their flocks by night. Seriously, though: this is created to bust glycation, which causes collagen and elastin to become rigid, robbing skin of its plumpness and elasticity. The co-enzyme Q10 is an anti-oxidant, protecting the skin from ill-natured molecules.

VITA COCO Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, €12.99 {500ml}
I hesitated to Google ‘extra virgin’ because that just seemed like it was asking for a variety of pRon-y sites to pop up in my face, but this basically 07 VITA COCOmeans that it is processed in a way that is even better than ‘refined’. That is some price point, it has to be said, for such a versatile product: apply it head to toe, use it inside and out — it’s hard to imagine a better all-rounder when it comes to health and skincare. I had a difficult time using this for cooking, and yet when I used this on the bod, I felt like I should pop myself into the oven… Once I got over the mental blocks, I found I liked this best for my cuticles and for split ends {still too scared to use it as a hair mask, but I will get there as I suspect it will be amazing.}

And if all this oiliness doesn’t not appeal in the least:
KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, €27.50 {50ml}
02 KIEHLSI’d say this definitely falls more on the side of a gel than a cream, but I’m not interested in semantics here: this is fab. I usually find gel-based moisturisers to absorb too quickly and dry tacky, but not this one — maybe there is something to the ‘cream’ in its name after all. Refreshing and soothing, this is terrific for skin that’s suffering from a surfeit of the elements, be they cold winter winds or hot summer suns. If you need a pick-you-up in the dark mornings, this will zing you to life and help with fine lines at the same time.


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


See for more candle lore.


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.


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 or on




Bourjois La Laque: New Shades for Summer 15

14 Jul

…and well into autumn, I’d say.


I used to love going into Woolworths {RIP} when I was a tween, and would stand and gaze at the rainbow of nail polish on display — back when there was Woolworths, and when there was no such thing a ‘tween’. This range inspires the same awe, and since I am rubbish at manicures, but have found a New York-style pedi right around the corner*, I’m going to go the full NYC vibe and bring along a colour of my own.

No idea where to start! I’ve got a teal-ish hue on my toes at the mo’, so I may go for one of the reds — or that orange! It’s probably the only way I can actually wear that colour. That burgundy and brown with definitely see action in September/October. I do wish there was a black/deep purple; fingers — or toes — crossed for A/W15…




*New Yorki Nails on Upper Great Georges Street do a €30 pedi that includes dead skin-scraping and a calf massage!


NYC Fancy Dotty Nail Polish: Yes

13 Jul

Yes, it is fancy and dotty.

Shown is Nolita’s Lolita; also available are Greenwich Goddess {white}, Park Slope Fairy {pink} and NY Lady {peach}. The peach is heavy on the yellow rather than orange, FYI.

It is also not the easiest to get off, so brace yourself for many, many cotton pads-worth of remover — but it lasts really well, even when lashed on with no base coat or top coat, even.

Cheap as, if not cheaper than chips, at €1.99, this is perfect for those us {me} who haven’t got great nails/patience/marigolds* — you’ll get a good long run out of one application, and they look fun. Also great for a quick accent nail!




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