Ireland has traditionally been a “making” nation – we are applauded worldwide for our rich heritage of crafting beautiful things, from the iconic Aran jumper to pottery. It’s clear we are truly gifted when it comes to innovation – and now a new generation of indigenous beauty companies are making waves, not only at home but internationally too. And for the most part, the driving force behind these brands are women.
Quite possibly one of my favourite Irish skincare brands is Pestle & Mortar, founded by Sonia Deasy. I adore their branding – everything is black and white, and even on their website you won’t find any colour. The aesthetic of the brand is hugely important since they want simplicity to be the main focus. All their products are based on high-quality natural ingredients and then married with technological actives, which make the skincare incredibly effective. Sonia comes from a line of Indian medicine men who have been making herbal medicines for over 100 years – her uncle uses a pestle and mortar that is over 100 years old: clearly, making a healing skincare range is literally in her blood.
Launching this week is Skingredients from skin superstar Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd – a skincare line that I am already madly in love with. There are seven products in the range with the core four being the most important: step 1 Prebiotic Cleanse, step 2 Skin Veg, step 3 Skin Protein and step 4 Skin Shield. These are the four you need to maintain and protect your skin (there are another three add-ons to create a more active skincare regime). You will find no parabens, it is cruelty free, vegan-friendly and fragrance-free. There is literally nothing inside these products that is not focused on your skin health. Jennifer wanted a skincare range that works, and that works with minimal effort; she certainly does not believe in a 17-step routine. The packaging is bright and really stands out, with the step number on each bottle so it is super-easy to identify. Incredibly, the brand sold out online in its presale, so you will have to go in-store to buy it and it is stocked in pretty much every good pharmacy and even Brown Thomas. And the price points are affordable, with cleansers costing €25.
Aimee Connolly launched Sculpted by Aimee in 2016. A working make-up artist, Connolly saw a gap in the market and started her range with a highlight, contour and blush palette (now customisable). My favourite product is a four-in-one lip quad (€29.99) that has four lipliners in one pen, like the coloured biro pens from the 1980s [much like the 4-Colour Pen by Clarins launched in 2017]; it makes for huge space saving in my kit. The nude edition has the most perfect shades, and there is one that I use all the time on its own filled in on the whole lip with just a dash of gloss in the centre. Most recently Connolly has launched Beauty Base (€24.99), which is your moisturiser, primer, skin illuminator and SPF30 for both UVA and UVB protection. It is a gem if you’re having a great skin day and don’t want to wear foundation.
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