Guaranteed Irish: Pop-up @ The Loop!

11 Dec

Anyone heading out for the airport soon? {Meeeeeeee!}
JoyOfGiving3
If you’re flying out of T1, then make sure to pop in to the pop-up, The Joy Of Giving: it’s guaranteed Irish, just like it says in the headline, and is stocked full of Avoca goodness, as well as indigenous brands the like of Max Benjamin, Clover Rua, Monsoon Jewellery and Ursula Celano. I’ve got a gorgeous print of the Dublin Bridges from Clover Rua, and I just love it — and I’m currently torn between the Irish Lighthouses and Georgian Doorways prints… at €12/each, though, I could end up splashing out and buying both.

The folks at The Loop make every effort to keep in touch with customers, and this shop is in direct response to feedback. With so many of us heading away for The Christmas, it’s excellent to have the option of bringing along something Irish and stylish!

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See theloop.ie for all your pre-flight shopping needs, and/or avail of their Shop & Collect service.

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I Try Before You Buy: Lush Tangled Hot Oil Treatment

10 Dec

Hmmm. I wasn’t sure that Lush’s venture into deep conditioning hair care was gonna work — way to keep an open mind! I do like the brand’s Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar {and while I was checking, I see that there’s a Karma-scented bar, must try!} but also remember a foray into a solid conditioner that did not work.

Our friends at Lush are never afraid to take a risk on innovation, so holding fast to my own courage, I went for it.

Hot oil on a stick?
01 treat on a stick

The instructions said to go boil the kettle, get a suitable container, and prepare to swish. Okay!
02 in the mug

The swishing began. Adding enough to cover the solid… stuff, I swished and swished, keeping in mind that it was suggested that increments of hot water be added. A timeframe of five minutes was offered; as an impatient person, five minutes of swishing felt like five hours. Due to this impatience, I definitely jumped the gun; I applied some, and then realised that I could in fact get more out of it. Given how much hair I have, I immediately thought I’d ruined the whole undertaking. I added more water, swished a bit, created more, but less creamy, product — I make these mistakes so you don’t have to. Be patient! This process really does work!
03 mixing it up

Even with my inability to do what the packaging told me to do, there was plenty of this to go round. Having learned my lesson, I waited the requisite 20 minutes.
04 doing its job

TANGLED LUSH
Woweeeee: shiny! Also: soft, beautifully scented with ylang ylang and rosewood, silky, touchable — an amazing result. I wanted to do it all over again — with less impatient swishing — as soon as possible. There’s also one called Damaged, chock full of almond, avocado and extra virgin olive oils, if your hair has got the wintery weather blues. Take a chance on either one — it’s worth it.

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€8.95/£6.20

Two Micellar Waters That Have Changed My Mind: Eau Thermale Avène and Bioderma

8 Dec

Not in that order, but still. I did not take a seat on the micellar water bandwagon, due to having tried many and finding them all to be useless. About 100 cotton pads later and maybe my mascara and eyeliner was mostly off; several more were required to remove the foundation, leaving behind a nasty stickiness.

Micellar water is, funnily enough, made of micelles, which are molecules made of oil that are suspended in water that dissolve (or are meant to dissolve) make-up, grime, and whatever else is on your face, on contact. Or, on repeated contact, as far as I was concerned. I wanted very much for this to work, though, as they are chemical-free and less harsh on the skin, but found that most were only good for cleaning my make up brushes {h/t letzmakeupblog.com}.

And then I got two samples of two different brands — both French, though, so that might be food for thought — and one changed my mind rather a lot, and the other changed it entirely.
EAU DE AVENE micellar
I love the Cleanance range from Eau Thermale Avène even though I don’t really need it. It’s geared towards oily skin, and mine hasn’t been since I was thirteen, but there is something about its, well, cleanness that appeals. I went through their toner for a shortcut, and I’m not a toning kinda gal, and they have a soapless cleanser that looks appealing — so I reckoned if I was going to give a micellar a second chance, it would be this one.

It’s good! It’s light and closer to water than any of the others that I’d tried at this stage, and it left my skin feeling far less tacky than previously. I liked it well enough for taking off the dreaded mascara/eye liner combo, and at €20.99 for 400mls, that seems like a good deal to me. This one does not get put on foundation brush detail for sure.

BIODERMA micellarHowever. When it comes to wiping off that make up and foundation in four-cotton-pads-or-less, the winner and reigning champion is Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution Sensitive Skin, designed for normal/dry/sensitive pelts. This is as good as those bi-phase concoctions that remove everything in one swipe, but leave behind an oily residue; this leaves nothing behind but clean, un-irritated skin. I honestly couldn’t believe how good it was until I used it again. At €14 for 250mls, it’s a big saving over some of the more expensive, less-effective waters {the above excluded, of course} and it’s got a permanent place on my hero list, not only of 2015, but of maybe ever.

Careful though! I availed of a two-for-one of the green version of this, the Sébium H2O Purifying Cleansing Micelle Solution, and while it is as good as regards the foundation and brow make up, it’s not so good on the eyes {and it may not be not meant to be…} This is the version for those who have oily skin, so I don’t know, maybe buy one of each if you are looking for a micellar water that removes eye make up too.

There’s a blue one, Hydrabio, which sounds like a Harry Potter Spell: this is for dehydrated, sensitive skins. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect it’s just as good as the other two in terms of general, gentle, thorough cleansing.

Eh, yep, really did love this.

BIODERM ALL GONE

BONUS LAVA LAMP IN SHOT

All this talk about cleanliness is making my face itch. Gotta go give it a good swipe now!

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BIODERMA GIFTThis fab gift pouch from Bioderma contains BB Cream, some of the magical micellar water, shower gel, and face cream, for €17.50. Available at all good pharmacies, or online at mccabespharmacy.com.

Gift Guide 2015: Sally Hansen and Make A Wish

7 Dec

Here’s a great way to get the holiday giving underway. Sally Hansen and Make-A-Wish Ireland have teamed up this year to give someone on your list, and a child aged 3 to 17 years, lovely treat. Buy the specially-branded Miracle Gel Duo and the charity will receive €0.50 for each sold.
SALLY H MAKE A WISH
The duo is priced at €14.95, which is a fiver of a saving for you, and the monies raised for the charity go towards making wishes come true for terminally ill kids. You can find this thoughtful deal at all good pharmacies nationwide. {Don’t ever shop at a bad pharmacy.}

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The tree ornament came with my press sample and isn’t part of the deal, which is a pity because it is pretty cute.

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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.

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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 tell, 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 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!

ILUMA by IMAGE 2

That’s how desperate I am to get every ounce out of this. I’m going to hoard it 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 half a year of intense eye-brightening out if it.

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

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See here for an Irish stockist near you.

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The No7 Advent Calendar {Deal With It}

20 Oct

Ooh, this is super fantastically gorgeous:

No7 ADVENT CALENDAR

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!

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Look, it’s almost Hallowe’en, okay?!?

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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!

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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

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See candles.org for more candle lore.

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{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!

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€10.95/£7.95/$15.95

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*Did that on purpose

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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.
PAYOT 1
Seriously.
PAYOT 2
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…

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

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

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