Product Watch: Beauty resolutions for the new year

Rachel Marie Walsh suggests some beautiful resolutions for 2019.

Beauty-related resolutions have much to recommend them. They are generally fun to keep and generate results faster than a gym membership. Goals are also pretty straightforward and gratifying in a selfish way: you want to make some nice bit of you look nicer and feel better. Moreover, if you prevent an expensive problem with care or practice you could wind up saving money.

Save on salon facials

Foreo’s UFO Mini LED Thermo Smart Mask.

Korean beauty, now four years in vogue, has gone from trend to thoroughly mainstream while still managing to turn out some surprises. Foreo’s UFO Mini LED Thermo Smart Mask, €279 at arnotts.ie, is a mouthful to say but makes it so much fun to play ‘facialist’.

UFO stands for ‘Ur Future Obsession,’ which may prove true: it does feel wonderful on skin and generate results quickly. Once charged, it looks like a flashing pink paperweight and is super easy to use.

This is handy because there is a lot going on at once here. The blue light kills acne-causing bacteria and stimulates blood flow while the green light works to fade UV damage and red marks. You secure a small sheet mask a plastic bracket on the lid and then run the device all over the face.

Heat and pulsations help the mask’s anti-ageing ingredients penetrate skin more deeply.

The mask is a great product itself, fragrance-free and packed with hyaluronic acid, among other potent goodies. Finally, cooling waves cause blood vessels in the skin to temporarily constrict. 

This helps to depuff skin and seal in the active ingredients. The device requires replacement Foreo masks but is so little I can’t see why you couldn’t just cut and secure your own favourite sheet masks to it (the brand does not recommend this but why would they?). The immediate effects are brightness and plumped, more rested-looking skin.

Try some pre-washing

I was not excited about pre-wash hair treatments when the appeared, they seemed like a conditioner variant rather than a game-changer. My opinion has changed since silicone-free haircare became the best game in town. I’m not sure if subtracting the little things adds up to less build-up or just higher concentrations of nourishing ingredients but the silicone-free treatments I’ve tried make a significant difference to texture and hydration.

My favourite so far is Michael Van Clarke’s 3 More Inches Lifesaver Pre-Wash, from €26 at feelunique.com, BeautyBay.com and Net-a-Porter.com.

Van Clarke, whose salon-team has worked on Kates Moss, Winslet and Bosworth, makes haircare that encourages growth through good health.

I left it on for an entire Sunday but it is prescribed for overnight use. It felt remarkably light even before rinsing as the product’s texture is purposefully light.

The brand notes that those with normal or fine hair typically avoid treatments, fearing lank locks and greasy roots, yet it is these types that need a treatment’s nourishment and protection most, to slow down the thinning and breaking of the hair shaft.

After shampooing I let my hair dry naturally to check whether the promised thickening was also a thing. It is a result of a cashmere protein and amino acid-blend and very noticeable.

Treat hands and feet as well as your face

The neck is the body part magazines were forever telling me not to neglect while growing up and it must have sunk in because I do always remember SPF, etc., for this area. I now think that both the backs of hands and feet’s own décolleté are at least as important.

The former are almost always on show and summer shoes put the latter in the spotlight, so they are well worth protecting year-round. Clear sticks of high UV protection, like Shiseido WetForce Clear Stick UV Protector SPF 50+, €30, are a quick, clean way to keep them covered.

I also like using hand cream on both. A fragrance-free formula like Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream, €15, which is rich in shea and cocoa butters, keeps skin soft and plump.

Blot out redness in a flash

IT Cosmetics has launched a redness correcting powder.

Rosacea is an irritatingly unpredictable scourge that can worsen when it stresses you out.

There is no topical cure (sticking to fragrance-free skincare and diarising flare-ups helps), and a reliable cover-up is always handy. It Cosmetics has a new corrector for that soothes while it covers.

Bye Bye Redness Correcting Powder, €35, was developed by plastic surgeons, according to the brand, and employs turmeric, aloe, cucumber and colloidal oatmeal to encourage calm, comfortable skin.

Nail a neat, natural eye and brow-look

Clarins Eye and Brow palette, €39.

Clarins is out for some of that millennial/Get Z beauty action with their Spring 2019 ‘Get Selfie-Ready’ collection, which includes a ‘Ready in a Flash’ Eye and Brow Palette, €39, on counters January 7.

Very cleverly, it contains nothing likely to alienate customers of any age, the name and packaging are just super-cute.

Even the holographic pink and gold highlighter shades are made of that super-soft mineral pigment that won’t highlight lines or dryness.

Like any Clarins palette, it comes with numbered, foolproof instructions on creating a classic eye-look.

I could roll eyes at this brand’s conservatism, always waiting until any trend is firmly entrenched before making moves (their contour kit came out 2017, roughly five years after the category’s kick-off) but they sometimes seem an island of good sense in a sea of Insta-prompted failures.

Fortune favours the well-prepared.


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