The Thing About Samples: Sisley Paris All Day All Year

The thing is, samples can make you want something.

Want this:

I am not a comprehensive Sisley fan. That Black Rose Cream Mask is beast, but I found the Global Perfect Pore Minimizer to be no use a’tall. I’ve had more time for their makeup, in fact — Phyto-Ombre Glow Luminous Eyeshadow, and Mascara So Intense, yes and yes — and generally tend to choose between either skincare or face paint when I’m thinking about a brand. {Do I? Will have to give that a serious think.}

I had a facial ages ago in the Brown Thomas beauty rooms, and of course the products show to their best effect when used by a pro. I got some wee samples, hence the above, and they’ve been languishing in one of my organisational units. I went on my usual New Year Clearing Out Tear, and it was either pitch it or give it a go, so I reckoned, just use it — why let even .13 ounces of something really expensive got to waste.

Well, this stuff is terrific. Which is bad news because: spendy — ruinously so. At €250 for 50 mls, I guess I have about €3 worth of this stuff in that wee pack. The thing is, my skin felt both tightened and moisturised simultaneously, which sounds impossible, but in practice, feels exactly correct and what you want out of an anti-aging product. I felt like I was fighting dryness and gravity — and! my foundation looked amazing even after a full day out and about. This promises that after 28 days of use, you’ll look more youthful, and I gotta say, I’d love to give that a try…

Is it worth €250/£236/$410? Will I wait for your answer until you pick yourself up off the floor?


It may be worth cruising by your local Sisley counter to see will they give you a little sample of this extreme goodness…


The Face Mask That is an Actual Mask: Olay Total Effects

Someone thought this was a good idea.
OLAY mask

I… I don’t even know where to begin. Unless it’s with the addition of a Nightmare on Elm Street tag to go with my Silence of the Lambs look {scroll down, you’ll know it when you see it.}

I… Okay, Olay 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Total Effects Mask. Love the idea of a thing infused with anti-ageing stuff that you lay on your face, and it’s all like you’re in a spa. Except yesterday was a Working Sunday, and I can’t actually work with this thing on my face — was soooo tempted to put on my specs, total Invisible Woman vibe — and I needed to get this work done, and lying around even for fifteen minutes was not gonna happen.

I ended up converting RGB photos in Photoshop, to CMYK, because you don’t really need sight for that. I will say that the mask didn’t slip a’tall, so, that’s something, I guess.

I — the thing is, I bet this is great in the summer, when you want a blast of chilly on your weather beaten gob. This is cold, like it just came out of the fridge. I also realise that I have a large face, and the thing probably wasn’t actually going to fit anyway, and that the bridge of my nose is the one part of my face that doesn’t need any of the 7 benefits accorded by this BEAUTY Anti Ageing 4treatment, but this did not fit! And I kept trying to make it fit, until I got stuck into the file conversions and — well, I was going to say I forgot about it, but, no. Not possible.

The 7 benefits are: fine line minimisation, moisturisation, spot minimising, tone enhancement, brightening — these last three are very much akin to one another — pore minimising and exfoliation. After you’ve let the youth juice sit on yer face for the fifteen, you then massage the remaining nectar into your skin.

It felt sticky, and smelled of too much fragrance. I did feel refreshed, however, so that was something, too. Two things that were okay. Okay.

My only regret was that it was indeed a Sunday, and the chances of my doorbell ringing were nil. I’d say I’d get some fun running down to the postman in this yoke. I may give this another chance, one in which I am lying in a relaxed state — maybe the gravity will help the mask settle better — but seriously? Needs way more stretchy.


RRP €19/£16.99


Haiku Review: VOYA Organic Marine Eye Treatment

Voya’s seaweed treat:
The eyes have it, and also?
Hydrotherm mattress!

I have been fairly blasé about eye creams, eye treatments, and the entire eye area in general. This view {ha, ha} has been altered somewhat since the great Botox/Restalyne adventure. Areas that have been plumped up are now highlighting, in an averse fashion, areas that are not so plump. Which is the first step down the slippery slope to pillow face.

In a bid to delay injections of stuff into the eye area, which just makes me go ‘Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’, it seems like a good idea to A} start using eye cream, and B} check out a treatment that targets the delicate area, and see what kind of improvements can be made organically.

Organic being the key word when it comes to VOYA. You can read all about their use of seaweed here, and as I’ve said in the past, I adore a good marine-based therapeutic experience. There is nothing like water for healing what ails you, from the physical to the emotional. I was delighted to avail of the leisure centre in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel before my Organic Marine Eye Treatment. Got some laps in, in the 15 metre pool, sat in the steam room, sat in the sauna, sat in the Jacuzzzzzz — ah, God, hot, bubbly water. Best. Thing. Ever.

Already completely relaxed, I entered the hotel spa, Thérèse R Wellbeing and Beauty. I chilled for a bit in the room on the left, and then in the room on the right:

Both proved to be excellent venues for putting up one’s feet and almost falling asleep.

The 45 minute treatment, like all good ones, involves more than the eyeball area. Whilst they were, of course, the focus {ahhhh}, I also got some decolleté action, and a scalp massage. A scalp massage!

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.

>First: general cleansing, of the face and the chest area, followed a misting-by-toner, which was great. Christine, the beauty therapist, sprayed it like, four feet over my head, and the anticipation of it wafting down on to my skin was half the pleasure.

>Second: lymphatic massage. Still haven’t really satisified myself as to what the lymphs are, besides glands. I am sure I looked this up before, and probs even posted about it. It has not sunk in. Whatever it is, it felt great when Christine administered it, all around my eye socket and then down to my neck and shoulders.

>Third: Seaweed eye patches. Seaweed eye patches! Now these — I definitely want these for home. The patches are loaded with vitamins, and they were so cooling and soothing… just what I’d like to lay on my lids after a hard day’s blogging. They did their job during my scalp massage, which is just the next best thing ever, after hot bubbly water.

>>>Meanwhile, let us not forget the hydrotherm mattress, which gently supported me, warmly and whooshily, throughout the whole process.

>Finally, the application of VOYA’s Bright Eyes cream. Why does it feel so much more effective when someone else applies it? My eyes looked amazing after, and I never thought I’d ever recommend something like this, but this would be the perfect treatment to get on the day of a big event. I would never recommend doing anything after a treatment, apart from going home and napping, but this was relaxing without being completely … emptying, if you know what I mean? This would be an excellent bridal thing, on the Big Day.

I hope I get into the habit of this eye cream thing. I have, somewhat, since I am testing a bunch for the Herald, and I’m lining up a few that seem to make a difference. We’ll see. {Sorry.}

The VOYA Organic Marine Eye Treatment, €52, is available in spas nationwide, ring VOYA on 071 9168956 for more information.

Okay, Two Words: Hydrotherm Mattress


So, up I got, onto one of the massage beds in Therese R Wellness and Beauty, in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel, preparatory to receiving Voya‘s latest treatment, and holy wow: the plinth was warm and it was moving.

‘What is this?’ I gasped, and my consultant replied, ‘It’s a hydrotherm mattress.’

A hydrotherm mattress. A mattress that is filled with water that is warm. So you lay there, and whilst your face and decolleté are getting their treat, your whole entire back is warm and floaty.

I will write more after the weekend about the treatment itself, which uses the Irish brand’s Bright Eyes cream, and involves lymphatic massage and seaweed eye patches, but wow, seriously: the HYDROTHERM MATTRESS*.

*Clearly, I have a thing for therapeutic furniture: I waxed lyrical about Zeba Hairdressing’s massage chairs only t’other day. Also, click the link for info regarding their fundraising event this Sunday!

Irish for Youth: Preserve Your Looks with Peat

If there’s one thing about which I can wax lyrical, it’s the smell of burning peat. Out of all the places I have lived here, I’ve only enjoyed an open fireplace once, but I loved, loved, loved burning peat briquettes, and once, even got actual hand-harvested peat straight from a friend’s bog allotment. Or whatever it was called. There’s a special name for it, and I can’t remember.

What is peat, you ask? {Heathen!} It’s a really, really old by-product of decomposed vegetable matter. Which doesn’t sound very appealing, but trust me, once somebody digs it up — it’s mud, basically, but really complex and rich mud — and dries it out, it fires up like a dream, it smells delicious and homey, and it is one of the most relaxing fires to sit before, musing and dreaming.

Now, a company called Ógra {which is… Irish for youth} have brought out a skincare line that speaks to peat’s other amazing properties, that of preservation and healing.

Founded by Bill Kenny, the peat comes straight from the heart of Ireland in  Co Offaly, and has been incorporated across a range that includes all the usual suspects of cleanser, toner, moisturiser, eye, and body cream. For me, though, I am all about cracking into the face mask: not only because of the opportunity to take a scary picture, but also because being able to sit back and relax and let all the peaty benefits sink into my skin over a period of time — well, how relaxing does that sound? Plus, look! It’s a body mask as well! I think I am going to go run a bath…

Before peat is dried out for use in our hearths, the stuff is bursting with essential oils, fatty acids and lipods, all of which help the skin retain moisture, which in turn makes the skin look bloomin’ youthful.

And of course, we all know about the preservative qualities of peat, don’t we?

I don’t plan on keeping this on that long.

And since I need my glasses to type, I’ll catch you up on my opinion later.

Ógra 100% Peat Face and Body Mask, €30.00 (50mls).

The online store can be found here.

Update: Avon ANEW Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid

I had two treatments after I began testing Avon‘s professional-style exfoliating, microdermabrasing fluid, so I felt like I couldn’t really tell what was going on with my skin.

Additionally, even though I have the hide of a rhino, I didn’t want to be piling on all manner of potions on, because who knew what was working and what was not?

Nevertheless, I do have a few things to say {shock! horror!}, and they are:

> That stopper, there in the cap? I think it has  mind of its own, which is all to the good. No matter how much product I tried to pump into the cap, it only dispensed like, a drop and a half. Which is really all you need. And the directions say as much. But who uses only what they need? Huh? Who? Not me, because if one drop is good, then six must be amazing! Uh, no. And since this really is pro-style, I don’t think using more of something this active is a good idea.

>How do I know it’s active? It makes my face itch. Not in a bad way! In a Hey! I think this is working! way. In the way your skin responds to treatments. That way. Frankly, this is why I stopped using it during the two weeks of many treatments, because it felt as intense {in a good way!} as the product used in the salons.

Hmm, I thought I had more to say. Guess not! Oh: you can use this day or night, and I’m not sure which is best. Use it on fresh, rejuvenated skin in the morning? Or slough off those dead skin cells in your sleep? Obviously I’ll have to give both a try. As ever, will let you know!

Haiku Review: Human+Kind Anti-Ageing Cream

Oh, my God! Oh, wow!
Nature’s Botox how are ya!
Firmness on contact!

There was already a lot to like as far as Human+Kind were concerned:
> They are an Irish brand
> They are deeply interested in making multi-tasking products so that people don’t have to spend a lot of time taking care of their skin
> They have really beautiful packaging
> And last but not least, their products are made from highly concentrated active, natural ingredients.

Me, I don’t care so much that I have a rather complex beauty regime, but I am beginning to give some of the stuff I’ve got a bit of the side eye. What exactly is it made of? What exactly am I putting on my face and hands and body? And is it really working, or just making me smell nice?

At a meeting with the H+K fellas — co-directors and founders Rene van Willigen and Jeroen Proos, and scientist John O’Sullivan — I was impressed by their passion for their product. I mean, you know when someone’s just sellin’ ya something, and when some others are fully invested in their gig. These guys are definitely the latter. The vibe overall was enough to make me interested, especially when I tested wee samples of the various products. Everything felt good, but most importantly, they smelled good. I’d use more all-natural products if they didn’t smell so weird, like the interior of a health food store. You know? That oat-y smell. It’s so unappealing.

I was tidying up today, and since I’m so behind, I was going to put the sample of the  Anti-Ageing Cream in the queue, and get to it whenever; instead, I decided to put some on my face, because I was just standing there, and my face was not otherwise employed, so why not? A pump or two, and I moved to go make some more coffee, and I swear to God, maybe three seconds had passed, and I felt instantaneous — instantaneous — tightening and firming everywhere I had applied the stuff. I think I actually stood stock still for a second? In disbelief? Or, as if my moving around had affected, what, rate of absorption?

The secret ingredient is achmella oleracea, which would have made a killer second line to my poem had it been just one syllable shorter. The flowering herb is found in South America and it’s known as ‘nature’s botox’. Now, I’ve never had Botox, and I’m feeling confident that with stuff like this available, I won’t be lead astray by my vanity to the Botox office, or wherever you get it.

It’s all I can do to not just sit here all day slapping this stuff all over my face.

Then there’s the multitasking aspect, meaning you can use this as an eye cream, a moisturiser, an anti-wrinkle cream and a night cream. Because I’m in the process of testing a couple of other face things, I’m going to concentrate on using this on my neck and decolletage — I’ll let you know how I get on.

As far as the science-y bits go, I’ll get back to that later as well. H+K have a great blog, full of info on their all-natural approach. Why not get it straight from the horse’s mouth?

So, Human+Kind: it looks nice, smells nice, and works considerably more than nicely. Can’t want to try the rest of the line!