Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Gift Sets I

Welcome to 2015’s gift guide! 

Gift sets have come a long way since the days of buying your mum a dusting powder duo from the chemists. Here’s a few of my stylish faves.


Super Rich Repair + Two Gifts! €79.70
I adore this treatment cream, and this gift also come with Skin Resurfacing Cleanser and an exfoliating mitt. That mitt! I don’t know, I’d say any old skin cells will takeo ne look at it and give themselves up without a fight! When they say ‘super rich’, they mean it: this is a heavy cream that is well-suited for this time of year, when weather conditions are primed to wreck your face. The cream alone is the same price as the gift {it’s full-size} and the travel-size of the cleanser is big enough to get a good intro to it. That mitt, though — that’s the real bonus in this little beaut.

Love From Nature €16.95
Sadly, we lost Burt this year, but his legacy lives on. As a devotee of lip balm, it doesn’t get any better than this — you get full-sized samples of their legendary Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E & Peppermint, a Honey Lip Balm and Almond and Milk Hand Cream. As a devotee of gift boxes that you can use to put stuff in, this is one of the best I’ve seen so far this season.

Hand Cream Collection RRP €32
I am not a fan of hand cream, but I adores those produced by the Provencal brand. This a lovely variety of scent, from clean {Dry Skin Hand Cream} to floral {Roses et Reines}, to fruity-flowery {Fleurs de Censier} to citrusy {Vervaine}. I received this sample from The Loop, the shopping centre in Dublin Airport, so if you’re stuck for a last minute gift and don’t want it to look you were stuck, then I’d say grab this up before you head for your gate.

Ginger Pleasures €60
ORIGINS ginger
I love this range, and the scent is not so gingery that you smell like a little baked cookie man: there’s lemon, lime and bergamot in there, too. The brand have redesigned the packaging so that it’s got cool 60s Saul Bass-designed-movie-titles vibe {too graphic designer insidery?} and the samples in the set are really generous: 200mls of Ginger Souffle body cream, 100mls of Ginger Burst body wash, 100mls of Ginger body scrub, along with a mini Ginger Essence fragrance and a bottle of Ginger Gloss body oil — and a body puff!. This version is available at Arnotts, and if you like to layer, this is fragrant set does the business.


B&B! Q&A: Taking the Waters of Eau Thermale Avène

BAO-TAMBao-Tan Pham trained as a Pharmacist in Paris and worked as a Dispensing Chemist before joining Eau Thermale Avène in a training role. She’s now heading up the Marketing Team to enhance the awareness of the brand. She talked to Bright & Beautyfull! about why the French lifestyle is so healthy, and about some of the line’s hero products, including my favourite new-to-me cleansing range, Cleanance.

Spa culture seems to be big in France, in that it seems like people naturally partake of the local waters. Why do you think this is? How is it beneficial to one’s health?
Doctors in France prescribe state-subsidised treatments and visits to a medical Hydrotherapy centres as a matter of course, so “taking the waters” is part of the accepted way of life.

The use of medicinal waters is one of the possible treatments a French Doctor can prescribe to help patients with different ailments. As long as the water has been clinically proven efficacious by the Academy of Medicine, the Hydrotherapy centre can provide treatment courses subsidised by the French NHS for an array of health conditions. These differ from spa treatments that are wellbeing orientated, as these aren’t reimbursed.

What’s more, each centre treats different ailments, for example, the Avène Hydrotherapy Centre helps those with skin concerns such as severe psoriasis or eczema. The Avène Thermal Spring Water has been clinically proven to have skin soothing and anti-irritating dermatological qualities, and has been treating patients since the 18th century.

I don’t often think about water as an ingredient in products! How does the Avène water make for more effective skincare?
Water is an essential ingredient for all creams, but not all have the same properties — and sometimes, it is just distilled water that is used. All products in the Avène range contain a high content of the spa’s naturally soothing water. Ideal for sensitive skin, it has a low mineral content and is also rich in silica, which leaves a protective veil on the skin’s surface. It is an added value to cleanse and moisturise with a product that will always care for your sensitive skin.

Even something as seemingly harmless as washing your face in hard water can aggravate skin, especially if it is sensitive, so it is important to use products that won’t irritate it. Skin sensitivity is a real issue for many people. In fact nearly half (49%) of all of Irish women believe they have sensitive skin.

The spray is a real hero product. How can we it to its best advantage? What are some of the ways that one can incorporate it into the daily routine?
The Avène Spring Water Spray sells over 20 million units, worldwide, each year! It is a real multi-tasking product, and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine with a quick spritz to tone and refresh the skin between cleansing and toning.

It can also be used to soothe a whole host of skin irritations such as sunburn, prickly heat and eczema, as well as to set make up, soothe skin post-shaving and is so gentle it can even be used on babies’ delicate skin for nappy rash. It is also suitable for use post-surgery or after laser treatments.

Last but not least, it provides welcome relief on a hot day – I recommend keeping it in the fridge for a more cooling effect!

I am also quite a fan of Cleanance. Could you talk about the products in that range, and who they may suit?
The Cleanance range is suitable for those with oily/ blemish-prone skin of all ages and consists of the Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser, a gentle foaming cleanser, Cleanance Toner to mattify, Cleanance Emulsion to lightly moisturise the skin, Cleanance K, which is a moisturiser that hydrates and exfoliates more severe acne — and the hero product of the range: TriAcnéal.

TriAcnéal is a targeted treatment product which has won awards for its unique and effective formulation.  It has a three-pronged approach to help banish blemishes: Efectiose is an anti-inflammatory, Retinaldehyde prevents thickening of the skin and thus unblocks pores and has an anti-bacterial action, and Glycolic acid has a surface peeling effect to smooth the skin.

CLEANANCE products

The most recent addition to the Cleanance range is the Cleanance Mask, a multi-tasking mask that tackles oily/ blemish-prone skin by absorbing excess oil, unclogging pores and exfoliating dead skin cells. Exfoliating particles in the mask eliminate impurities and dead skin cells, leaving your complexion feeling clear and smooth.

This range is perfect for the 40% of Irish women who suffer from acne. We conducted some research recently and found that over 60% of Irish women surveyed said that they did not expect to have acne as an adult; with 68% admitting that it makes them feel less confident, 55% particularly unattractive, 46% embarrassed and a third of those surveyed even said it made them feel depressed when they had a flare-up.

Hydration is such a byword in health and beauty. How will using Avène products help with keeping ourselves hydrated?
As well as drinking water, there are also other ways in which to keep skin healthy and hydrated. Regular use of the Avène Water Spray, particularly during flights and when the temperature rises, can be beneficial in keeping water levels in the skin topped up.

Keep skin well hydrated with a good moisturiser, such as Avène Hydrance Optimale UV, which as well as actively adding hydration, also acts as a barrier to reduce water loss from the skin’s surface.

In addition, you could apply our new Soothing Hydrating Serum beneath your daily moisturiser to give dull winter complexions an extra boost of hydration: the serum’s encapsulated Avène water releases extra hydration during the day.


The Eau Thermale Avène range is available from selected large Boots stores, CH Chemists (Tralee), Doc Morris, Unicare and independent pharmacies. For all stockists call +44 (0)1582 820 165 or visit

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Sweet Sixteen: REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk

This is number fifteen in the series, woo hoo! And I’m waffling about what the finale is going to be…

I am not a big fan of cleanser. Based on the post I am working on re: day creams v night creams, in which I am thinking about not bothering with the cream of the night, it is hard to imagine what my beauty regime actually entails, if I am a big cleanser h8r.

I dunno: I think I just hate the mess it makes when you use the stuff — or maybe I just make a big mess? Splatters of water all over the place, from scooping water on my face to clean off the cleanser, and I haaaaate the feeling of water running down my neck and arms. I think I must suffer from some sort of rare condition, because written out, that is just freaky.

But then I got some REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk to review, and I think I may have changed my mind.

This is so thick and rich, it feels like you are icing your face like a cake. It’s thicker than milk, actually, and think ‘Cleansing Custard’ might be a better name. The very first time I applied this, I sighed aloud — it’s that nice. It’s … well, it’s sensuous, which is weird in a cleanser. And as sexy as it is, it gets the job done, removing even the most stubborn of make up, even my waterproof inner eye liner, which is a tough customer.

Thanks to its chemical-free state, my skin didn’t feel squinchy after I’d rinsed it off. I don’t mind a good feeling of squinch — makes me feel like my pores have been seen to — but I do know that it’s not the best state for my skin to be in. I get the clean, shiny result of such squinch-making cleansers, without the stress to my complexion.

I still haaaaate the feeling of water running down my neck and arms, though, and tend to use this in the shower in the a.m., even though I feel like this kind of product does its best for me in the p.m. Well, you never know, I may get over my squeamishness. Either way, this is a keeper.