SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator


Oh, hi.

I brought this away with me on my Christmas journeying, because I have this ridic idea that if I bring something that’s nearly gone and use it up while I’m away, it’s, ummm — a good use of the product? And that my case will be lighter by .0000001 of an ounce coming home?

Well, I didn’t use this all up in the three weeks I was travelling because it was so good and amazing I brought the rest of it home. Less eager to see it go, I had enough for three more weeks and I am raging it is gone.


When I got the sample, I duly used it and reviewed it for the paper. I found it effective enough, but I had four other serums I was working on and moved on fairly sharpish.

In this last month and half, it certainly stood out. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror about two weeks in and thought ‘Hey, my skin looks pretty fantastic.’ Glowy, clear, and a noticeable decrease in pigmentation — should I start hoarding this?

This is formulated to exfoliate without scraping away your good skin while reinforcing the skin’s barrier against the bad stuff. I was using a whole dropper of it which was unnecessary as the coverage is incredible.

It’s obvious, but using something good consistently yields results. (It’s pricey: anywhere from €61-98 online, gahhhhh)

Saving my pennies for another round: if I hadn’t been so eager to mow through it, I’d say it’d last me at least four months. #TRUTH


I Used It All Up: Clinique Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

Hello, phone — meant to do that.

At €32 for 15ml, it doesn’t seem to be much of an investment, but I am so tempted to scrape out that little bit that’s left. CLINIQUE’s Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm is a limited edition, and I liked it so much, I limited my application of this edition — counter-intuitive, I know, because shouldn’t you be using something you like? — but rationing it out made it last for almost six months.

Naturally, I have no before image. It looks like a tin of Vaseline, only richer and whiter, and the smallest scrape of a fingernail yielded enough to cover the face and a bit of neck, once warmed up in the palms. I never used it during the day, although one can, on one’s rough patches, and the directions suggested tissue-ing off any excess after ten minutes if using before bed — not me, I went for the full overnight intensive experience, and loved it.

That small size made it extremely easy to take along on trips, which = duh, but I have a whole slew of minis that are designated for travel, so I never think to bring along anything that I consider to be part of my serious regime. That’ll learn me!

Also: this feels clean, if you know what I mean: not sticky, not heavy, and I woke without feeling like I needed to scrape it off my skin. I highly recommend this little beauty!


€32/£26/$Not finding it in the States?$

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…


Love At First Night: L’Oréal Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil and Cream

AGE PERFECT oil Sometimes it takes me a while to work something into the schedule. Everyone loves a launch, but it’s rarely ever practical for me to post right away, or to try something out immediately — unless I fall in love with it at first sight — or in this case, at first smell, and at first touch.

I love oils: I’ve got stuff for my scalp all the way down to my toes, and I especially love love love facial oils. It is absolutely not like the oil you cook with, which I think has to be said — I know it’s the first thing that came to mind when these sorts of things started flying into the post box. Facial oils are fluid, for sure, but they have a slightly dry second touch, and when they absorb correctly, you have the luxuriousness of that fluidity, but you don’t have to wait hours for it to sink in.

By ‘second touch’, I mean: you put some on your hand, and think ‘Ooh, oily!’ and then it almost instantly starts to feel substantial. Like, it’s not going to just drip off of your face. L’Oréal Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil does that, and one stopperful of product — gorgeous, delicious-smelling product — covers the entire face and neck, and turns your skin to silk.

And then you wake up it still feels silky, and clean, and fresh. And then! You get to continue the good work you’ve begun with the brand’s Extraordinary Facial Cream. AGE PERFECT cream pot I know that the image had been styled, but in fact, the cream feels like that — like a soufflé for the face, all light and fluffy.

Fluffy face cream — surely it’s A Thing just waiting to happen.

I think that what we deem to be quality in a product — and what determines the cost, or what we are thought to be willing it pay — has everything to do with texture. Both of these win in the texture sweepstakes: both feel rich and in comparison with some products that I get to try, are truly reasonably priced. With RRPs of €25.99 for the oil and €22.99 for the cream, it’s manageable in the extreme. Also, pricier products can always be justified thanks to the truism ‘a little goes a long way’, and both of these adhere to that.

As rare as it is for me to immediately rotate something into the routine, it is equally so that I turf through that something at a rate of knots. I am turfing through these something fierce. I can’t recommend this duo more highly — and for mature faces? Yer only woman.


Available at your local chemists.


Dude Week Q&A: Peter Brennan of Ziaja

PETERFirst of all, repeat after me: zeye-ah. Wait, okay, wait: shzEYEa. Argh! The name is hard to pronounce, but the products are easy to use, and even easier on your wallet. Irish distributor, Peter Brennan recommends we rhyme Ziaja with ‘buy-a’. But with a shushy zed sound in the front. Or something. 

Even if you can’t quite get the hang of how to say it, Ziaja as a brand are comprehensive, top-to-toe brand that has the added attraction of being extremely affordable. In my personal experience, I found the Natural Grapeseed Oil Moisturising Body Butter to be as good as, and in many ways better {coverage, absorption, and cooling qualities} than many other, pricier brands I’ve tried, and for close to half the cost {€7.99!}

I chatted with Peter about how he went from swinging hammers to promoting skincare.

How did a dude get into the beauty business?
I’m a carpenter by trade, and was trained by John Sisk and SonLltd back in the days of the Celtic Tiger. I saw the construction market slowing down years before the crash and figured it was time to look at doing something different that would be buildable through the tough times ahead. I set up a small distribution company and started  buying small amounts of Ziaja products. I literally went cold calling  to pharmacies and pitching in the brand – now years on we have approximately 500 pharmacies.

At the start, when I was dealing with the buyers I was asked regularly “what did you work at before selling Ziaja?” I always said I was a carpenter! Most found it funny but interesting, and it definitely kept the conversation going, and that’s an important part of any sale. Today, I really enjoy working in the beauty industry because it changes so much — it makes it very interesting to work in.

What makes Ziaja so special? What does provide that separates it from other brands?
Ziaja  is a Polish beauty brand with a 20 year heritage of developing naturally inspired face and body care products. Launched in Ireland four years ago, I believe the brand has done well in Ireland as Irish women are very savvy about skincare, and in these cost-conscious times, we have built a loyal  customer following, women who trust the brand, love the products and  actively recommend them. Ziaja also offers a fantastic choice for a variety of skin types and conditions: with over 500 products formulated with the same high quality ingredients found in more expensive skincare labels. All the products are skin friendly, Ph-balanced and hypo-allergenic and protect the skin.

Are you a fan of the product yourself? Which ones would you use, to help my readers choose some samples for the men in their lives?
Yes, I use Ziaja products — the olive shower gel and natural argan body lotion are firm favourites! Ziaja has a range for men called Duo Concept, which was developed to address men’s specific skincare needs. I really like the Men’s Moisturising Cream SPF6 (RRP€4.79) It protects, moisturises and delivers a mattifying skin finish – that’s important for blokes.

Given that you are out and about, meeting beauty professionals, can you pinpoint any upcoming trends in skincare that readers may like50+ Jasmine anti-wrinkle serum 30ml copy to know about? Any inside knowledge?
Woman are buying intense DIY dermatology treatments to use at home, from  glycolic peels to hyaluronic acid anti-ageing treatments. Ziaja’s jasmine-based skincare range is fortified with potent anti-aging ingredients like micro-collagen and hyaluronic acid. The Jasmine Serum Anti-Wrinkle 50+ and tinted eye cream have sold out twice on shelf since launch.

There is also a lot of talk out there about micellar cleansers, which based on microscopic molecules that trap and breakdown oil, allowing it to be removed easily from the skin. Ziaja are pioneers in developing micellar water cleansers, having launched them on the market over 2 years ago. Ziaja have three micellar cleansing products: Marine Algae Spa, Rose Butter Water and Jasmine Micellar Water — they are priced at only €4.50 for 200mls.


Ziaja price range from €1.99-15.99. Shop online @


Lancôme Teint Visionnaire Skin Perfecting Makeup Duo: Beauty-full *and* Clever

So smart:

Lancôme‘s newest offering in the makeup line incorporates their terrific innovation in the skincare line, and the hint is in the name: Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector is in the mix here, and if you click on the link, you can read all about that crazayzay LR 2412 molecule that does all the amazing sciencey stuff to make your skin look equally amazing.

Well, I love it, and I’ve found that I return to it time after time. This is saying something, as I have goldfish memory when it comes to product. I try so much stuff on a weekly basis, that a thing has to be a really, really impressive thing for me to even remember its name — much less its molecule!

And now, here we have it all in one cunningly designed package. Teint Visionnaire comes with a concealer — shown here, lip flipped — that matches the foundation. I’ve been enjoying 01 Beige, and like its progenitor, it is quickly becoming my go-to for flawless.

I find the texture of the concealer to be a bit sticky, and I’ve tried to pick it up with a brush, but I am finding that my fingertips are my best bet for application.

The foundation applies fluidly, no matter if I use a brush, or my fingers. I know, why am I still using my fingers… but sometimes it feels like they do a better job. Although, I won’t get better with a brush if I don’t use it. But, but! Ah, sure, whatever. I tend to take a Machievellian approach to my macquillage. Look:


I have found, as well, that this doesn’t fade, or sink into creases, and the concealer has enough oomph to act as a highlighter as well. What is not to love?


On counter now: €45/£36/no joy finding an American stockist {??}


A Sensible Stick by Eau Thermale Avène!

First, let me just say: look how nice and shiny my famous supermodel thumbnail* looks! And just so you know, I have duly applied another coat of the Dr Lewinn’s stuff, and boy, do I feel virtuous!

Also feeling virtuous re: suncare. It is understandably difficult to be bothered about SPF in this country, but as I do spend time out-of-doors on the horses, I have decided to cop on. And with the sky this very strange and unfamiliar shade of … blue, I think that is blue? it only stands to reason that there will be a glowing orb radiating both healing rays and not-so-healing rays.

On the way to the yard last night, even though it was slightly overcast when I left the house, I took up my Stick Zones Sensibles by Eau Thermale Avène, and rubbed it all over my face. This seems like a good one to bring to the yard, because it’s small, and it’s waterproof. And even though I am riding with a helmet, and it’s got a wee brim, I can still get colour.

I want colour, but I don’t want to burn, so yeah, SPF. Here’s hoping I actually have need of this thing over the coming months.

I guess it worked — I mean, it did get sunnier as we went up the hill, and we were outside, but it was after 7pm, so…? I don’t know. To be honest, I’m going to go a’googlin’ because I don’t see how you really judge SPFs. Okay, like, total fail if you fry, but otherwise? I think it may be about absorbency and fragrance and relative stickiness.

Eh. So, I’m going to be good, and do this. According to a study done by Avène, 77% of women and men don’t bother with sunscreen on their lunch hour. As if it’s not hard enough to decide what you’re going to eat in the first place! Seriously, though, it is a good decision to slap on some protection, and there are easier, if more chemically-based, ways to get your glow on. But you still need to use sunscreen anyway. I think I read somewhere that you have to put it on even on the bits that are covered by clothes, because clothes don’t really protect you? Wha’?!?! Off to go see is that true or not…

*On a day when I have nothing else to do, I am going to find all instances of said thumbnail and make a whole category, just for it. Gotta have goals, ladiez.

Catching Up as Regards Avon ANEW Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid

Okay! Posting like the wind, as I have a wedding {just the ceremony} and then a fancy ladies lunch {for a worthy cause: go here to read all about the Seachange Foundation’s microcredit scheme}, but I have not only been using the Avon ANEW Clinical Etc Etc {tired of typing that out!} but I have also been paying attention to what it is doing.

So, I used twice this week. Each time, I noticed two things:

A} I went into the loo to start the macquillage, and thought, Hmmm, my face is really red. Now, it could have been from the way I blow dry The Hair, which is, of course, upside down like a normal person. It could also be from the Avon Etc Etc. I’m going to use this once more time during the day, and if this ruddiness continues, I may switch to the night.

My face didn’t feel sore, or tingly, or like it was having a reaction that I could feel. It was just noticeable. But!

B} My face looks brighter. I found that I needed less foundation primer, because my skin was smoother, so what I was using was suddenly getting better coverage. Ditto the foundation itself. Since this is the way my face acts after its gotten a fancy facial, I am quite impressed.

I am finding the dropper to be awkward. It’s a sexy design, with the flat button on top, but it isn’t the best for drawing up the ever-so-slightly thick product.

Okay, gotta run! Have a great weekend! x

Okay: Why I Have Fallen Behind as Regards Avon ANEW Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid

{I’d like to be nominated in the category of World’s Longest Blog Post Title.}

So, what happened was, I got Botox*, and for weeks, many weeks that may have even added up to a month or so, I was afraid to put anything on my face. I was afraid to even touch it too much. Yeah, crazazay, I know, but even the gentlest exfoliant scared me to bits.

The last thing I was going to do was to finish trialing a thing that was purported to be 79% as effective as professional microdermabrasion, mainly because in my naivety, I wasn’t sure my entire face wouldn’t fall off, in case I put something on it that reacted badly with The B.

I am finally at one with the ‘work’, and understand that it would have been okay to attend to my face again, after 24 hours — make that a week? A week sounds safe…  Anyway, I can do stuff to my skin again.

Now, I am preparing to self-tan, for the big summer push in the Herald, and half the discolorations on my face are going to get all bronzed up, but hey, let’s prepare the canvas as best we can, right?

I’ve got this handily situated on the sink, next to the thing that holds my toothbrushes and paste, so I can see it every day, and will remember to use it.

Impressions so far:
> Its consistency is thick, and I find that the squeezy thing on the dropper isn’t that great. I am not getting a whole dropper-full of product.
> I am not meant to get a whole dropper-full of product! Little under half an inch/1.5 cms is enough, even for my roundy face.
> It tingled when I put it on for the first time {in the long time between the first first time and this, the second first time.}
> It didn’t tingle so much when I used it again.

The prescription is to use this morning and night, but I think night will be enough for me. Or not! as the case may be.

Right, so: officially paying attention to this now. Back to you in a week! {Promise!}

*I’ve just created a new category for the whole saga, so do click on it and read all about my intensely emotional reaction to the jabs.