The best new products can offer comfort and joy, as in real pleasure, for our skin and our spirits. Trialling L’Occitane’s rebooted Immortelle Reset Serum, one of our The GLOSSiest beauty panellists reported that she “looked forward” to putting it on each night. And a great product, from a buttery lip balm to a velvety body cream, can be simply about sheer pleasure. Not everything is dedicated to a frantic mission to delete all signs of age – which is, anyway, a lost cause.
From a mountain of autumn arrivals, there are a handful that get gold stars. Some are literally golden: L’Occitane’s Youth Hand Cream (above) is, for me, one of their finest creations yet (€26, ie.loccitane.com); it feels so divine you want to cover your entire body with it. For a bigger budget, Chanel’s new Sublimage body cream, with its soft vanilla scent, is an indulgent way to cosset your sun-dried skin.
The opposite of comforting? The insidious idea that we all need foreheads as smooth as Nicole Kidman’s. I read yet another online piece where an expert (read practitioner) recommends we start injecting our faces in our 20s. This push for so-called “preventative” Botox is not supported by scientific evidence. It’s a marketing term that’s rarely questioned, even though many doctors now say that starting young may have adverse effects. We all have enough insecurities. Instead, beauty can be a “fix” in a positive way, a treat, rather than “correcting” something about yourself that’s somehow deemed to be imperfect. Choose that which lifts you up rather than knocks you down.
Comfort & Joy
Finding solace in beauty
1. TAKE A MOMENT As evenings get shorter, there’s nothing like a good bath. Irish family business Max Benjamin, famous for its high quality candles, has launched a bath and body collection dedicated to relaxation. There are restorative Bath Salts (€27) with vetiver and bergamot essential oils, and an exfoliating Sage Scrub (€35), both with magnesium to relieve stress. And the luxurious Lavender & Chamomile body cream is as comforting as beauty products get. The vegan formulas are made in Ireland using entirely natural ingredients. www.maxbenjamin.com
2. SMALL BUT MIGHTY Try two brilliant natural West Cork beauty brands Warrior Botanicals is now known as Daughters of Flowers. Reidin Beattie’s carefully crafted botanicals continue to epitomise “slow beauty”, with a fresh Tess of the d’Urbervilles aesthetic. Her potions and tinctures celebrate Irish plants and offer a gentle alternative to mass-produced beauty; www.daughtersofflowers.com. I’m also excited about upcoming Modern Botany arrivals, including a cleansing cream; www.modernbotany.com.
3. STRONG SKIN A good serum can enhance and strengthen your skin. Shiseido Ultimune is a concentrate of antioxidants designed to support the skin. Recently upgraded, Ultimune 3.0 offers a seasonal kickstart (from €95). Meanwhile, doctor-led line Augustinus Bader has launched its first serum (€320) and also an eye cream; both refillable.
4. FLAWLESS FINISH Staying skin-focused, we’re keeping foundation light. Sisley’s Phyto Teint Nude (€75), in 18 shades, delivers a lovely sheer finish, perfect for skin that’s on the dry side. Clarins Skin Illusion SPF15 is a light and silky option for a glowy look (€35, counters nationwide).
5. COLOUR FOCUS For a dash of uplifting colour that lasts, Chanel Ink Fusion Second-Skin Intense Matte Liquid Lip Colours (€36) are a glam option. And Catrice’s enhanced nude nail shades go well with darker clothes – under a fiver, at pharmacies and Penneys.
6. SPOTLIGHT ON THE GLOSSIEST Our independent beauty panel, The GLOSSiest, has been busy trialling new launches, including Aveeno’s oat-powered haircare: read honest feedback here. One panellist, Jen Cullinan, is an intensive care nurse; her skin is challenged by constant mask-wearing. She tried Boots No7 Protect & Perfect serum earlier this year: “I really loved the serum as it left my skin feeling so soft with a lovely glow. I have since bought it again. I struggled with problem skin in my early 20s, and spent a fortune on skincare and treatments. I have become extremely picky about which products I include in my regime. I now use La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Recovery Balm instead of my usual moisturiser and have seen a huge improvement in my skin.”
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