If you’re buying beauty at the moment, try to buy Irish – this is the time to support independent home-grown brands. This isn’t hard to do – Irish skincare and fragrance is having a real moment, and there are some true gems to be found. Here are 5 of our favourites, available online …
Margaret Mangan and her team at the eternally classy and considered Cloon Keen in Galway are keeping busy. They’ve manufactured a biocidal hand sanitiser (suitable for hospitals) and are hoping to supply these to public health nurses and other essential services. You can find their newly released minty, citrussy sanitiser (€12) at www.cloonkeen.com.
Working from home becomes far more pleasurable with a Cloon Keen scented candle on the go – they are a step above the ordinary, and my favourites include Noble Fir, which is meant to be for Christmas but I love its fresh foresty scent all year round. But the best way to bring the outside in is with La Bealtaine eau de parfum. Created together with star young perfumer Meabh McCurtin, it’s a sunny delight, with glorious bursts of mandarin and neroli, a jasmine and Turkish rose heart, and depths of patchouli and cedar. The perfumer herself describes it as a “transparent white floral”. It’s as sunny and sophisticated as the far pricier Neroli Portofino and so much more original (and longer lasting). Your skin will smell like it’s been warmed by the sun – a precious gift in these indoor times.
La Bealtaine eau de parfum, €130, Cloon Keen
Also on the fragrant side of life, Rathbornes Irish candles are donating €5 to Age Action on all online orders: we recommend the Wild Mint, Watercress and Thyme candle (€36), and I also love the chic black Beyond the Pale Dublin Dusk candle. www.rathbornes1488.com
Fiona Carr’s Bare Chic Skin luxury organic skincare is among my enduring favourites. Her Glistening Body Oil (€55) is a golden elixir that smells incredible – once tried, you will forsake all others. At the moment, she is sending out a solid body balm with every purchase – a blend of plant butters and oils, such as blue tansy, vetiver, clove and sage, to soothe frayed nerves. Blue Flower Face Serum, €75, www.barechicskin.com.
If you want to send someone a gift, consider the lovely own-brand The Well at Cliff body range, such as Super Seed Body Oil or Rosemary & Atlantic Sea Bath Salts (€20), from the online shop at www.CliffHome.ie – though you may also get distracted by foodie treats such as the Wild Irish Mushroom Risotto Kit (€8.95) while you’re browsing.
Finally, while perfume is far from a life essential, it’s proving to be a bit of a lift at the moment. Dublin’s perfume boutique Parfumarija is in fact seeing higher sales than this time last year. As owner Marija Aslimoska points out, with social distancing you’d think people would be less inclined to wear perfume. But, for example, one recent customer was a regular client who happens to be an A&E doctor: “I imagine his days are busier than ever, he is tired, he wants something nice at the end (or the start) of the day to boost his energy and optimism. And I guess that’s where we come in – offering something for people who just want something nice amid the whole situation.” “We don’t seek to sell bestsellers to our clients but rather find something completely new and thrilling for them – something that also fits their lifestyle and hidden desires. While some clients are ordering their usual favourites, the vast majority has been clients who have contacted us personally, asking for advice (via email, phone or social media). I give them recommendations and they’ll often purchase the three or four fragrances rather than just one.” So if you’re tired of your usual scent, it could be a good time to take some recommendations and try out something new. “One husband described his wife’s taste and style, and the fragrances she has. I recommended three different ones and she was shocked at how much all three were exactly what she loved. So our service continues to be highly personal, and we sell only what we think is the best-fitting choice for the client,” says Aslimoska. “Even though currently barricaded, Parfumarija is still very much alive and kicking.” Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Body Butter, €145, at www.parfumarija.com; free delivery over €50.
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