THIS: Rhinestone Skull Clutch Bag from beautycouture.ie

I love skulls.

Sparkly skulls? They just knock the love right out of the park. Oops, a baseball-y phrase. Or: kicks the love into touch. For all you Anitpodean/European rugby types.

This is the Rhinestone Skull Clutch Bag (€30) available at beautycouture.ie. It is 12 inches wide and 6.25 inches high, which is basically perfect. There’s a strap to relieve it of its clutchiness, should you so desire.

Look at his expression! It’s kind of piratical, right? Like he’s saying ‘Arrrrrr!’

I love him. *Sigh*

Tanning Twenty Twelve: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Golden Mousse

Right, so. It is 6.30 in the morning. It is… to say it is pissing down rain is to insult piss, to be honest. It is filthy, foul, and soul-destroying out there. Your first thought, before you are even conscious that you are thinking, is Holy crap, I have to get my Christmas shopping done! before you remember that it is July, not November.

You are actually vertical, and preparing to leave the house in an hour. You can’t imagine what in the world you are going to wear, because your phone says it is actually kind of warm out. You look at yourself in the mirror — the lovely suntan you picked up in the South of France is fading, as is the memory of that strange glowing orb that was present in a sky that was this really weird colour, like blue or something?

You think, Feck it, and even though everything you’ve ever read tells you to tan the night before the morning of the deluge, you don’t give a toss. You grab the can of L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Golden Mousse (€22.49) and your trusty mitt, and go to work.

On a day that seemed to start out so wrong, suddenly everything is right. The mousse is light, it doesn’t have that stink, it imbues you with instant warmth and glow, and dries in finger snap. It is perfect.

That is all.

The Scrub of a Lifetime: VOYA Organic Lavender & Seaweed Sugar Glow

I exfoliate a lot. Like, I am pretty sure that I have exfoliated all the hairs off my arms. Plus, I use the gloves along with the exfoliant, which is cray-zay, I know, and I’m surprised I haven’t scrubbed myself down to the bone.

Exfoliant and me, yeah, nothing new there. But you know what? There is absolutely something to be said for getting a professional treatment.

I very happily found myself once more at Therese R Wellness and Beauty in Rochestown Lodge Hotel, Killiney. I had forgotten my togs — clients of the spa may avail of the leisure centre, which includes jacuzzi and sauna and steam room, oh, my — so I stripped down, bundled up into a beautiful spa robe, headed into one of the well-kitted-out treatment rooms* and lay myself on the plinth.

Okay: did you know that when you exfoliate, it doesn’t have to be like you are keelhauling a ship? It’s no surprise that I’ve scoured all the hair off my arms {if only it would work on my legs!} I lash away with the stuff like I am scraping barnacles. Susie, my massage aesthetician, applied VOYA’s amazing concoction with all the gentleness that one would bring to tending a little baby.

At right is not me, but that is a true representation of the colour and texture of the scrub. A combination of organic ingredients,with the main players being hand harvested seaweed, lavender buds, and cane sugar, there’s a bit of a pong off it at first because, hey, there’s no fake rubbish in this bad girl. Once you get used to it — if you have to, it mightn’t even register for you at all — it’s nothing but gentle application and the feeling that dead skin cells are going on to a better place.

After the scrub is showered off, Susie applied VOYA’s Softly Does It Body Moisturiser, again, in a professionally massaging manner, not in the slapdash way I would do it. I’ve used this moisturiser in the past and wasn’t crazy about it, but my mind has been changed: the combo of the scrub and this was excellent.

This is not a total, float-away-into-the-ether thing: it is relaxing, sure, but it is primarily a very functional treatment, and you come out with astonishingly smooth skin — I made my friends touch my arms the next day, and they were gobsmacked.

Pretty perfect! Although… if there had been a wee facial exfoliation to go along with it? Just something to think about, VOYA…

***

The VOYA Organic Lavender & Seaweed Sugar Glow treatment is €55 at Therese R Wellness & Beauty, Rochestown Lodge Hotel, Killiney, Dublin.

*OMG, remember the hydrotherm mattress?!?

A La Recherche du Temps Chanel: Soleil Tan Luminous Bronzing Powder

In April, I did a Snap! Judgement on Soleil Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powder. I wasn’t too fussed. Then, I brought it along on my weekend away in its homeland, and it was a different story altogether.

It helps to be in sunshine? Like, consistent, every single day sunshine? Because when I wrote that I thought this was ‘too subtle’, I meant ‘this isn’t doing squat, I can’t see a difference’ — but that was because there was no light in the sky, or the air, or wherever, to reflect off of this.

I passed it around to all the women who were away for le weekend, and it became part of everyone’s morning ritual. Coffee, check. Croissant, check. Susan’s bronzy Chanel stuff, check.

So, sunshine helps, a wee bit of fake tan or actual colour from said sunshine helps. It helps to be hanging out with friends, and sharing it round, too. As an actual product, it is all that is pretty and feminine and warm and gorgeous.

Bonus: I wouldn’t usually countenance {ha, haaaaa} using a brush supplied with a cosmetic, but this is a good one.

***

Soleil Tan de Chanel Luminous bronzing Powder is  €42.70/£34/$60

If You Have to Return From The South of France…*

… you may as well come back to an absolute fête of lip gloss. {That’s glos du levres en français}{No, it’s not}

From left:
> bella bamba, a sheer bright watermelon
> dandelion, a soft, pearly pink
> dallas, a dusty rose
> sugarbomb, a shimmering pinky nude
> CORALista, which is, unsurprisingly, coral
> hoola, a shimmering golden nude

I dabbed a bit of sugarbomb on my finger, in order to apply it without infesting it with my cooties so that if a pal might like it I can pass it on in good conscience — and it smelled so niiiiice I just about rubbed it all over my face. It is very sparkly, with a light texture, and it also feels somewhat emollient.

This one is subtle, and the fact that I got a few rays of actual sunshine on face, and got some colour that didn’t come out of a bottle, really sets this off.

Each one of these is a match to the powders of the same names, to make it even easier to put together the look you’d like: from tan and glowy in the dallas line, for example, to pale and interesting in a dandelion kind of way.

These are available in July, and go for €19.50/£13.50/$16. Pricey, but if you’re looking for your signature gloss for summer 2012, look no further.

***

*Because ‘everyone’ says you have to come back… ‘Everyone’ is a total spoilsport, aren’t they???

Also, it’s brillant à lèvres, just in the interest of precision.

Sweeties for The Sweet! L’Oréal Miss Candy Collection

Stripey goodness! Let’s pretend it is summer! {Although I know that New Yorkers are sweating buckets, and frankly, wish I had your troubles, betches.}

Here comes the Miss Candy Collection via L’Oréal, comprised of Glam Shine Lip Glosses, Color Infallible Eye Shadows and Riche Nail Varnishes.

Clockwise from left: Dolce Pralina, Tart Lollipop and Miss Candy gloss; Sassy Marshmallow eyeshadow; Wild Purple, Dating Coral, and French Riviera nail varnish; Naughty Strawberry and Innocent Turquoise eye shadow.

I’ve used the Infallible Eye Shadows before: the pigment is rich but the stuff itself doesn’t go on on well with a brush. You may have a different experience, but when all else fails, do as I do and use your fingers. I’ve swiped a bit of Sassy Marshmallow on my hand it is shiiiiiiny. {It is too gloomy out to get a good photo.}{Or I am just a crap photographer.}

The glosses are shiiiiny, too, but without much colour; even the poppy-looking Tart Lollipop hasn’t got much actual pop.

Since I am mid Dr Lewinn’s treatment, I’ll save the varnish ’til my nails are perfect.

This came with:

Probably not going to get that with purchase, but if the line could be summed up by anything, it’s by those bright, fizzy sweets. Yum!