I Try Before You Buy: Palettes of the Eyeshadow Persuasion

01 YSL couture
YVES SAINT LAURENT Couture Variations 10-color Eye Palette in Tuxedo €70
This is an almost unbelievable world of combinations here, in a wealth of textures — although they do err on the side of sparkly, a side I have been known to err on lo these many years. It’s suits its name as it does feel very formal, but don’t be put off by strength of the pigments: the key matte shades are there for day, and the deeply rich ones (love the navy) are there to transition you into the evening. The lightest touch has you covered, and the colours stay strong.

02 ISADORA eye bar
ISADORA Eye Color Bar in Nude Essentials €17.50
These are not rich in pigment, but they are long-lasting, the perfect sort of non-dramatic hue and intensity for a day at the office. This is not damning with faint praise: most of us can’t rock up to the office like we’re ready to go clubbing at the drop of a mouse. If you want to enhance your peepers and still look professional, you won’t do any better than this — but when you are ready to drop that mouse and go out to play on a school night, you may find yourself caught short. The Surf & Sun Eye Color bar is like a Caribbean holiday in a palette, complete with yellow and green, so if you’re more adventurous, you’ll have a blast playing with it. I personally love that purple and teal…

03 NO7 mini palette
NO 7 Mini Eye Palette €14.25
Not just for mini eyes, ha ha. Actually, this palette isn’t at all mini, but it is slim. The ‘mini’ designation is, I think, due to the palette’s being comprised of the top shades from No7’s line of eyeshadows. These are surprisingly hefty in terms of pigment, and I’m starting to feel a little bit misled by the whole ‘mini’ designation. I like the container, it’s sleek and looks expensive, which it is so not. I’d pop this in the carry-on and go travelling with it.

04 CLARINS garden escape
CLARINS PARIS Garden Escape 6-Colour Eye Palette €41
Love these colours in theory, and as ever, the shades are long-lasting and rich, but that green. I don’t even know what to do with that. I played around with it, and it became apparent fairly quickly that I needed a professional to show me how to do this. If your skillz are up to it, then there’s lots to like here. If you have The Fear of mad colours, go with a classic Clarins palette.

FUSCHIA MAKE-UP The Pro Collection €45
This is fun! You too can walk in the footsteps of many a make-up artist, thanks to Fuschia, by personally selecting each and every color you put in your palette. You can buy a Pro Palette Senoir {€18} or Junior {€18}, and fill it repsectively woth large pans {€7.50} or small ones {€5.50}. Nothing I love better than playing with colour, so once you’ve decided to go big or go small, you can start choosing your hues. Choosing colour online, however, has inherent drawbacks. If you’ve got a good eye and decisive mind, then you are laughing. If you can’t picture the colours on your face — which is totally understandable — this may be seem daunting. I received many compliments recently when I used this, and the look lasted the whole night long.

SLEEK Vintage Romance
SLEEK MAKE-UP I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Vintage Romance €10
These mineral eye shadows have more pigment in one little pan than many palettes have in their entirety. These are very very smokey, and may be hard to manage — but practice, and you’ll get a long-lasting, dramatic look rather than a panda-bearish vibe. For a tenner, this is going to last an age and a half — perhaps even an aeon. There are 13 palettes to choose from, so for the price of many of the above, you can have the eyeshadow department of your beauty regime completely sorted for months to come. See http://www.sleekmakeup.com for the full line.


Tried & Tested @The Herald: Cleansing Balms

My new favourite thing! As I say here, I have always hated, if not completely loathed, the fuss of using a cleanser. These go on your face and stay there, working away as you massage them round, without making a splattery disaster of the sink, or dripping down to your elbows.

Clean up without making a worse mess! That’s my new motto.


A Flying Visit: The Loop, London, Liberty, and Lie-In

I have booked my Christmas ticket back to the States; this seems cray, but it really is not. Given the way this year has flown, I wasn’t taking any chances of it suddenly being, like, 12 December and me without my arrangements made.

Involved in that arranging is, of course, whatever gifts I can transport without setting off sirens at the bag drop. I am generally an early bird at the airport, and there’s nothing I like better than a roam round duty free, but around this time of year, you don’t want to be panicking in the aisles. If you are the same, then may I direct your attention to theloop.ie?

The Loop is the premiere shopping area in Dublin T2 and Cork airport, with all manner of fancy brands, and the vibe is that of a very fancy high street. It’s taken some time to find its feet, but it feels now that it’s got everything going on — except for a blow dry bar, which would be a great feature, to which I can personally attest: the day I was taken through as a guest of The Loop, with a flying visit to London as well, the electricity in my flat exploded, and I was plunged into darkness with wet hair. Disaster! I was ragin’ that I was going to be swanning round London with less-than perfect locks, and was further dev when I found that the blow dry bar had packed it in.

I chose not to focus on the negatives of such an epically bad hair day, and instead dwelled on the fact that I would have some delightful Jo Malone products awaiting me on my return, which I had bought via theloop.ie’s shopping facility. The general range of product is pretty good, although sadly lacking in electronics. Last year, I had tried to do my Christmas shopping via this portal, and was not permitted to buy alcohol — which had been the guts of what the lads were getting — and I was not best pleased. That’s not an issue now, however, which is fantastic, and there are several ‘airport exclusive’ deals of which to avail. There’s a great selection of whiskey, with a special offer on Tullamore Dew Phoenix going for €49.95, and keep an eye out for offers on champers, the like of 75cls of Moët & Chandon for €36.50, or the same amount of Bollinger for €46.50. I certainly feel welcome over any threshold with either {or both!} of those in hand.

You can browse whenever you like, which is dead handy, but you need to buy 48 hours before you fly. This is worth noting in your diary, or putting a reminder in your phone, because it is so simple, and you can get loads done, and again, avail of many special offers, some that put your regular high street to shame. This is particularly true when it comes to fragrance and skincare. I was drawn to the Clarins offer of 400mls of their Moisture Rich Body Lotion for €20 — over 50% off the department store price.* And! If you buy three Clarins products, with one to be for the face, you can get a free 20 Minute Mini-Facial. This would suit me down to the ground, espesh before a transatlantic journey.

Your plinth awaits: the Clarins Treament Room in Terminal 2

Your plinth awaits: the Clarins Treament Room in Terminal 2

Right so: off to London we went, me with my manky hair. A quick zip into Soho and Liberty London, a coffee with a dear pal, then a fab lunch, then it was time to go home. This was indeed what is meant as a flying visit! Because The Loop provide their signature — and free! — Shop and Collect service, my goodies were waiting for me when I landed, so there was no hassle with carrying the stuff around all day.

Have you been to Liberty London? It is amazzzzzing, the building itself is spectac, much less what is in it. I bought myself a Liberty Patchwork Bundle, which is in advance of my purchase of my mobile holiday home, which I am going to turn into a totally contempo-country chic little party wagon. And this is gonna help immensely:

CLARINS Skin smoothing eye maskBetween the electric explosion and the amount of travel in one day, plus the great craic, I was in bits the next morning. I skipped horses, much to my chagrin, but inspired by the Clarins offers in the The Loop, decided to give myself the treat of the brand’s Skin Smoothing Eye Mask. Applied thickly around the very place that all other masks tell you to avoid, this is a superb gift to give your peepers: slap it on, lay on some dampened cotton pads, and lie back for ten minutes. Don’t think about anything, much less England.

Because I was still a bit giddy from all the flying and the fun, I decided it was a good idea to take a selfie without looking. This still makes me laugh, and it actually came out, although it looks kind of like I am falling down the side of a building or something.

This one, however, is even funnier for being a complete fail.
CLARINS eye mask fail

So keep an eye on theloop.ie for retail travel specials and the like — if you’re travelling anyway, you may as well multi-task!


*Ends at the end of October, so if you’re travelling now, stock up! Also: ring ahead to Clarins to check on the availability of the facial, on 01 944 0759.


Also: Lads. airportgenie.com. Seriously. €5.95 buys you an individual pass, which lets you jump the mad queue for the X ray, and also avails you of a free coffee. Seriously: the best fiver-and-a-bit you’ll spend.


FOTD: Channelling Stockard Channing

FOTD 28 02In the best possible sense of course. But seriously: right?

Must be the smirk. No one smirks like Ms Channing. Except me, apparently.

What we have here is:

>Dermalogica Skin Primer, which will be featured in a B&B! Q&A soon.
>Lancôme Le Touche Éclat
>Smashbox Brow Tech To Go, which I love and want to marry.
>Hourglass Ambient in Luminous Light, which is why I am glowing like I’m just back from the Caribbean. I completely overdid this, as I overdid the mascara — the new Rimmel Lash Extender Endless Mascara which I am loving.
>Smashbox Love Me Lip Enhancing Gloss in Charm Me, with which I will have a clandestine affair if that damned Brow Tech will ever stop leading me on!
>Clarins Ombre Minérale 4 Couleurs in Iris Blossom. They look dark in the palette, but go on trés lightly and sparkly.
>The Hair, not even ironed yet, is thanks to Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo, Thickening Conditioner and Scalp Revitalizer, about which more will be written soon.
>Roots by my laziness. Don’t look, Andrew Dunne from Mane Salon! Avert your eyes!


B&B! Q&A: What’s So Great About Clarins Double Serum?

Debbie McVicarDebbie McVicar is the Product Training Manager for Clarins. She very graciously answered our Qs about the new Double Serum, yet another addition to the Paris brand’s line of serums. Me, I can’t get enough of any new Clarins skin care launches, and even a serum-head like me wondered what was behind this new one. Let’s all find out, shall we?

What makes serums so great?
Serums are wonder products! They are highly concentrated in active ingredients and this makes them an essential part of any skincare routine, as they not only kick-start the skin’s functions but also help improve the performance of your daily targeted skincare products.

Clarins seem to make a lot of serums — what’s this one do that the others don’t?
Clarins recognised the power of serums many years ago, and formulated them to perform key functions in the skin, such as radiance boosting, skin lifting, Double Serum Stillife with cap lowresdraining and moisture boosting.

Our new Double Serum is the first complete age control serum in the range — it’s a multi tasking serum that will boost the levels of five vital age managing functions in the skin: hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection and regeneration. It is the essential serum for younger looking skin from the age of 25 and whatever skin type you may be. The results are firmer skin with minimised lines that also has new radiance, and a more even texture with less visible pores.

I am curious about how a product like this is developed. How long did it take to come up with it, how were the ingredients assembled, how many people worked on it?
This product is the seventh version of a serum that was first devised in 1985. It was then two separate phials which you had to use by mixing the two products together in your hands. Clarins have worked tirelessly over the last few years to produce the unique “double-chamber” container, meaning that we can use all the water soluble ingredients in a hydric chamber and all the oil soluble ones in a lipidic chamber.

This exceptional packaging allows us to use the highest number of active plant ingredients in one product than ever before, over 20 in fact! These are teamed with high tech molecules from our Clarins labs, giving us a super concentrated serum. The product also contains no emulsifiers which allow all these ingredients to move freely in the skin and target their own skin cells without sticking together – a better performance all round!

Can you talk about the four week intensive treatment? What are its benefits, and how does one ‘do’ it?
There are some under 25’s who really feel that anti-age products are not for them, yet but feel that their skin can occasionally feel and look “under par”. It may look tired and lifeless, with perhaps a few imperfections on the surface. Double serum can then come to the rescue as a four week intensive treatment which will help restore the skin to healthy functioning again. It would be used every day or night for four weeks under her favourite day or night cream, and then only used again when any future imbalances occur, ideally two or three times a year.

What kind of lifestyle changes would help this product work even better?
Try to assist the five vital functions in your body also, by drinking lots of water, eating healthy food, getting out in the fresh air as much as you can, getting enough restful sleep! And enjoy the simple pleasures in life!


On counter now, Clarins Paris Double Serum retails for €69.50/£49.50/$85


So Many Palettes, So… Few… Eyes

Where’s a spider when I need her? {Ick.}

Someone recently asked me, do I wake up in the morning and just start plastering on the slap? Well, my interlocutor put it far more elegantly, but that was the gist.

A: Not really. I suppose I ought, but I do need to answer the buzzer fairly often, and don’t like the idea of nipping down the stairs looking like something out of A Clockwork Orange. I never know when the delivery lads will appear, and they inevitable would, mid-eyeshadow application, I’m sure of it.

Lately, the world has been treated to full eye makeup, even if I’m just going down the High Street to do me messages. It’s kind of funny, because the women in the know are all like O rilly missus? It is all of 2 of the clock! and the some of the dudes get a little flustered. Bless.

To wit: Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics Wet & Dry No. 19.  {€56} Very sparkly for the daytime, one would assume! In actual fact, once you do a decent blend, there is an attractive shimmer; you won’t look as though you fell face first into a vat of glitter. Unless you want to, of course! The all you have to do is lay it on, baby!

Clinique Plum Seduction {€32}, which figures largely in their Limited Edition Black Tie Violet gift set for The Christmas. I blended too well when I applied this — sorry, no pictures of me sporting any of these, which is not helpful, I know, but they didn’t turn out well a’tall — and whilst it made the blue of my pop, it also made my eye area look a little bruised. I think it’s either all contrast with this one, or none whatsoever. Second hue from the left is the culprit, methinks, just too bland, but the third from the left will make for a terrific Purple Smokey Eye.

No. 7 Deco Darling {€12.95} is Boots’ tribute to The Great Gatsby, and it is soooo Deco, darling! I am easily delighted: that fan-shaped thingie, the embossing, is terrifically fab. The similarity in hue and intensity is not so fab, however: it goes on well enough, but in the course of the day, the colour all dull down to the same degree. The deep charcoal is super for lining the eye; stay away from the silvery gray.

Today’s palette: Clarins Ombre Minérale 4 Couleurs {€40} in Odyssey, which may be a limited edition. Look at that goldy one! This is a terrific palette for wearing during the day, then sparking up with that goldy bit!

This one is wet & dry, too, and begs the question: does wetness not muck up the wee applicator beyond all redemption? I use my own fancy brushes, thanks very much, and I suppose I ought to be cleaning them more often than I am — oops— but seriously, is it worth it? I’ve only applied shadow wet once, and it worked out grandly, but I really do hesitate. Also: I forget and am halfway through the face before I remember.

Can the MUAs among us advise?


Yesterday’s Face: What it Was

Yesterday’s make up — which, like yesterday, is gone! Take off your make up, women, for the love of God! — and as ever, will be keeping my day job. I am very sloppy about the picture-taking.

From left:

> No. 7 High Shine in Pink Veil
> Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose
> That Karaja Waterproof Eye Pencil that I am wearing down to the nub.
> Bourjois Paris Smoky Eyes in Rose Vintage
> Clarins Instant Definition Mascara in Intense Plum
> Bourjois Paris Flower Perfection Translucent Smoothing Primer
> Stila Set & illuminate Baked Powder Trio
> L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique BB Cream in Fair Skin Tone
> Also L’Oréal Paris, the LumiMagique highlighting pen
> Yves Saint Laurent Dare to Glow No 2 in Fatal Red
> My beloved brow duo, the AVON Glimmerstick Brow Definer in Dark Brown, and BeneFit Speed Brow

I am very much loving the Hourglass lippy: it really does last, and I counteract the dry-feelingness with a top coat of gloss — ooh, and the No 7 is super shiny! I am also very impressed with the Bourjois eye palette, less so with the primer, as it is such a small container, I don’t imagine I’ll get many faces out of it, if you know what I mean. The YSL illuminator was a little rosier than I wanted to go, but if you are feeling that pale-and-interesting is not working for you, this will warm you right up.

Stila! Completely into the this illuminator, but keep forgetting I want to use it, so I am all dressed, and the danger of illuminating my frontage is, I am afraid, about 200% guaranteed.

I would not normally be interested in a non-black mascara either, but I find myself reaching for the Clarins Plum these last few days.

The whole look is soft:

Brows and lips, betches. It is all about them.

I’ll deffo do this again. Ah, yesterday!


Nail it! Until Tomorrow with Clarins

Since I am caring more for my hands these days — and ‘caring’ is code for ‘desperately trying to avert disaster’ — this offer from Clarins caught my eye.

And it certainly can’t fail to catch yours! Weee, that is massive. Suitably so, as the offer is all in the name of charities, in the name of three, in fact:

> Jack & Jill Foundation
> Debra Ireland
> The Irish Raynauds & Scleroderma Society

And you needn’t go way out of your way either, as the offer is good in your local Doc Morris or Sam McCauleys, and in CH Chemist in Tralee and Petals Beauty Salon in Westport, for southern and western readers, respectively.

Seriously, it couldn’t be easier if they came to your house!

Plus, oh my canny gals: you get the treatment and then maybe you put aside the wee gift for someone’s stocking, or for the dreaded Secret Santy…?

The offer is good until tomorrow. Sorry so late on the update, crayzee bizzy kthxbai.

What I Was Going to Put on My Face Yesterday

And what actually got there.

I suspect that a lot of people who don’t like to wear make up are put off by how much you have to put on. I totally get that! I’d argue about the ‘have to’ so much as ‘choose to’, and particularly with the advent of BB creams — more about them, someday, hopefully before they get replaced by something else even more allegedly magical — you don’t really have to trowel on the slap to get a look that is ‘you’, just all shined up.

And yet. Even I was rather appalled when I laid out everything I thought I’d put on my face yesterday afternoon:

In the words of my very first Mac Classic: Eep! We’ve got your Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation, which is on tap to review for my tried & tested column in the Herald; Sisley Instant Primer, which I didn’t fancy so much the first time I tried, but wanted to give it a second chance; new Maybelline Colossal Smoky Eyes Mascara; a gorgeous palette from Yves Saint Laurent, as seen on new representative Face, Jessica Chastain — this will make me look just like her; a YSL illuminator pen thing, for around the eyes; Sisley lipgloss, with the option of the NYC lipstick; Dr Hauschka Illuminating Powder, even though I am not a huge fan of loose powder… And a whole bunch of eye pencils that I can’t even see what they are. And an AVON lipstick I found in a coat pocket. And the Shine So Bright from Lush.

No blush, I thought, since it was going to be all about the Smoky Eye.

Also not pictured, the combination I am using on the brows at the moment as the HD Brow dye wears off: Speed Brow by BeneFit, and the super excellent AVON Glimmerstick Brow Definer in Soft Brown.

Then I lost my nerve.

See, I had to go to the theatre to review a show, and it was opening night at the Abbey, and there would be loads of people I knew, and I didn’t want to pitch up looking like Morticia Addams. I don’t have a lot of confidence in my Smoky-Eye-creating ability, so I ditched the entire plan, and feel back on the one I am liking so much at the moment:

Red lipstick. Can’t put much else on the face when you are working that, IMHO. Went with everything as planned, primer-foundation-powder-wise, used the Maybelline mascara > LOVE, and then plucked up my old-faithful eyeliner, L’Oréal Superliner Luminizer for Blue Eyes, which, in fairness, seems to luminize. I also ended up using a Wella concoction on The Hair, I think it is so old it is not even on eBay. Still works though!

I am very impressed by the Bourjois foundation, judge as best you can from the pixilley iPhone image. I was underwhelmed by the Dr Hauschka, and ended up giving myself a going over with a new Clarins palette, Odyssey Face Palette, which: more about that later, too.

Now. The thing is, I don’t carry all this around with me in the course of a day. For an evening out at the theatuh, one bring only one’s powder, black pencil to touch up the liner on the upper inner eyelid, the brow pencil and, of course, the lipstick/gloss. One means, come on! Don’t need to lug around the whole face, as it were.

I’m going to declare a Smoky Eye Day, and stay in and practice. There will be pictures to prove it happened…


Inexplicable Marilyn Moments: Or Are They?

I was going through some bits and pieces I had torn out of magazines, fodder for future collages and vision boards, and there was Marilyn, big as life.

I would not be a … I was going to say huge fan, and I wouldn’t be, but I think by that I also mean an obsessed fan of her persona. You know, because I don’t get ever get obsessed about anything. Ha, ha.

Or by that I think I may mean that I absolutely recognise that she was talented — and funny! — but I don’t know that she was any more tragic than many women walking around out there, living lives that are markedly less glamorous, sure, but with their own brand of pressures.

But, lordee, that woman could rock the red lipstick. Continue reading