The €15 French Skincare Staple We Adore

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Three chic skincare ranges with that je ne sais quoi – and what makes them stand out  …

Embryolisse has been a French skincare staple since the 1950s. Simple and straightforward, it’s along the lines of other trusted favourites like (I got talking to a lady before Christmas and when I admired her amazing skin, she told me she was in her eighties and only used Avène – she was a walking ad for the French brand!). But back to Embryolisse: my picks would be the Lait Crème Fluide, a light but silky emulsion for face and body in a handy pump bottle. From €14.99. Also worth trying is the twist-up Radiant Eye stick, designed to smooth out lines around the eye area – it’s beautifully cooling and ideal for tired eyes. There’s a decent make-up remover too, €22.60 for a generous 200ml. Find it at selected pharmacies nationwide and via www.distinctbrands.eu.

I’ve been trying out Cosmetics 27, a minimal monochrome-packaged brand that includes a super-rich moisturiser, Baume 27 (from €95) – it will be too heavy for some, but it’s ideal for mature or dry skin (and especially right now when we’re stuck indoors and the heating is on). The Recovery 27 Serum (€98) is a very soothing light lotion – it features hemp seed, a natural complex contains CBD antioxidants and oil, and plant-derived anti-inflammatory Centella Asiatica extract to calm stressed or irritated skin. I’m not particularly drawn to skincare featuring CBD, as it feels like a fad that will soon be replaced by the next one – but I do like the way this skincare feels instantly soothing and unfussy; there’s nothing extra added and all the formulas are designed to maintain skin’s own natural balance. Founder Michèle Evrard has worked in the cosmetics industry for more than 20 years, and her expertise shows. Available from www.alyaka.com (free shipping over €40).

I’m a fan of Caudalie’s lovely gentle skincare, and their Resveratrol Lift range, launched last autumn, uses a vegan collagen booster, rather than collagen derived from animal origin. Working in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, they’ve found this boosts the natural collagen in your skin. Whatever about “wonder ingredients” such as the much-hyped CBD oil – actually resveratrol, an antioxidant derived from plant sources including grapevines, quietly gets on with making an impact on your skin, as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried SkinCeuticals Resveratrol BE, an exceptional night-worker (€145 at www.nualawoulfe.ie). I’ve been using Caudalie’s Instant Firming Serum (€53) regularly, and find it light and beautiful, together with the Firming Cashmere Cream (€45) which is as lovely as it sounds. The range benefits from its verbena, orange blossom and lavender scent, which along with the textures makes it a pleasure to use. I wish they’d stop calling it “anti-ageing” skincare though, and talking about the “fight against ageing” in their press releases – that term has long been consigned to the bin as we realise what a nonsense it is. The Resveratrol-Lift range boasts zero waste packaging: it’s fully recyclable and they’ve reduced the carbon footprint of their box (using lighter paper) by 40 per cent. Their new range of cleansers and toners, Vinoclean, is silicone- and PEG-free, comes in recycled and recyclable bottles and is entirely vegan. “I truly believe that sustainability is the new luxury,” founder Mathilde Thomas told us. “It’s no longer a trend – it’s now mandatory.” At pharmacies nationwide and www.next.ie.

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