Our beauty habits are changing, by necessity. This year has seen skincare sales soar, as we stayed in and paid more attention to our skincare (while battling “mascne” teenage-style breakouts caused by wearing a mask). We had to master a better blowdry, get used to seeing our own faces on Zoom and many of us wore less make-up. So this new season offers new choices – will we revert to a full face of make-up, or retain our more minimal new ways? A lot of people found it liberating to go foundation-free; others can’t wait to get hold of the newest matte-finish (NB Chanel’s new Ultra Le Teint would tempt the most resistant).
The AW20 catwalks (pre-Covid) championed a celebratory beauty, with flashes of bronze foil on eyes and brilliant reds on lips – red lipstick projects a certain defiance even when mouths are covered up by masks. Will masks deter us from wearing lipstick? Forget it. While glosses might have to take a back seat for a while, we certainly won’t be forgoing the season’s ruby reds (step forward Chanel Rouge Allure Camelia Rouge Metal, a red that’s as irresistible as Dorothy’s red slippers). A matte red brings a touch of much-needed glamour. A clever choice is the new Chanel Le Rouge Duo Ultra Tenue (€36) – a seriously long-staying matte lip ink on one end (they do NOT come off, mask or not), clear gloss on the other. Shades range from beige to pink and brown – a vampish 1990s dark lip seems set for a revival. We still want to wear bold lipstick, impractical as it may be. We will always want to dress up.
New beauty arrivals into Ireland have a home care slant: Arnotts has gone big on skin supplements, such as Advanced Nutrition Programme, and tools, including Foreo, Skin Gym and Ion Sei fancy ionic toothbrushes (good-looking, but not as effective as a regular old Braun, for my money). We’re seeing a rise in smart devices, whether for cleansing or masking, though we’re not always convinced that they are improving our beauty experience, or just complicating them. And while it’s handy to do your own LED light facial at home, we want to support the experts as salons struggle to survive.
When I started this job nearly a decade ago, a few big brands dominated the beauty shelves. But now we’re more often drawn to smaller, niche names, with an emphasis on expertise and transparency. We want to know what’s in our oils and serums, and are looking to a more considered, “seed to skin” approach. And Irish brands are doing this so well: Max Benjamin, for example, are focusing on organic and refillable products, as are Modern Botany. Two of my current daily favourites fit the bill: Nunaïa cleansing balm and Bare Chic Skin’s Rose of the World facial oil, out of this world and made in small batches in Co Galway. We’ve also become more reliant on our pharmacies and want to keep supporting them: look to trusty brands like Vichy (whose Aqualia Volcano Drop moisturiser is as good as many at twice the price).
Beauty is striving to be many things: more inclusive, more sustainable, more transparent. This autumn we’ll be delighting in the uplifting quality of make-up, focusing on skin – and wearing every lip colour known to woman.
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