Whether it’s Secret Santa ideas or a glam quick-fix for the party season you’re after, Rachel Marie Walsh thinks small is beautiful this month.
The nicest things come in small packages, they say, and like all generalisations (including this one) it is not quite true but the thing about a little beauty is that it puts a big smile on your face.
It’s all about adding a dash of colour and sparkle rather than splashing out, indulging just enough to feel better. You can share them like Christmas cheer.
Suggest a friend might like to try a new makeup look, for example, and her hands fly to her face.
She barely wears makeup, she doesn’t have time to apply it or doesn’t want to look like a Kardashian and are you really saying she needs it? But hand over a locket-like Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Cream Blush, €36.50 compact? A golden tube of YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick, €33? The most foolproof Glossier eyeliner she’ll ever love?Irresistible.
Christian Louboutin nails this petits plaisirs principle.
When the ridiculously popular red carpet brand segued into beauty they played on the story that their signature red soles began with a stroke of red nail polish on the Pensée stiletto and put out nail lacquers with spike heel shaped caps.
The girly gift of the season was born.
All the brand’s follow-ups — the mascara, the lipstick — look like pocket-size trinkets.
The prices can be almost as punishing as a long trek in ‘So Kate’ courts but the Loubiléopard False Eyelashes, €25 at christianlouboutin.com, with their vertiginous gold fringe, are both accessible and the most opulent of party favours.
Designed by the brand’s Global Ambassador Isamaya Ffrench, who also creative directs Dazed Beauty, they’re an ideal gift for fashionistas.
A little gem needn’t be packaged like jewellery to elicit a gasp.
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty,introduced in larger Boots stores in May, offers plenty to charm within the latest Killawatt (not a typo, physics fans, as Ri-Ri means its light makes your look kill) Foil Freestyle Highlighter, €35, — ‘Ruby Richez’, where the makeup itself is the real jewel.
This strawberry cream-powder hybrid blends beautifully across lids, cheeks or the bow of the lips.
It contains ultra-fine shimmer pigment that can be built from a lowlight to glow to foil.
The compact is shaped like the prismatic cell of honeycomb and slots among the other shades to form a lattice for fans.
Products that seem every day can also be good as gold.
2019 has been an amazing year for liquid eyeliner launches, with foolproof, perfectly pigmented formulas launching at every price point.
My top pick is Glossier’s Pro Tip, €17 at glossier.com. The pen’s brush tip was designed with flexible fibres that adhere to the curve of the lash line for perfect definition.
An internal ball shaker means the formula flows through evenly, giving you a smooth line that doesn’t drag or smear, even when you’re lining your eyes in a moving vehicle.
An anti-ageing or anti-fatigue product really is terribly depressing when you are trying to feel festive.
Still, you don’t want to look older or more tired in this year’s pics than you did the last but sticking to a sleep and skincare regime is at odds with your schedule.
Nivea sends little rescue patches in the form of sheet masks. The German brand’s two new Q10 mask formulas perk you up in ten minutes, making a noticeable difference.
Nivea Q10 Power Sheet Face Mask, €2.99, the immediate plumping effect comes courtesy of natural moisturisers and water-binding extracts, while creatine works on stimulating skin cell’s natural collagen production.
Relax in the bio-cellulose fabric for ten minutes and skin feels smoother and looks healthier.
The dewy residue can be left on as hydrating makeup base.
The Q10 Power Sheet Mask Nivea Q10 Vitamin C Sheet Face Mask, €3.99, provides similar benefits along with a brightening boost of Vitamin C (though this potent antioxidant works in a progressive fashion rather than instantly, more’s the pity).
Faking a glow is just as easy with BareMinerals ‘Bare Glow’ On-The Glo Face Palette, €25, a clutch-friend selection of powders.
These universally flattering formulas are just the thing for ‘clean beauty’ fans, as each is free from alcohol, perfume, parabens, talc, sulphates and other nasties.
The shades are a classic mix for sculpting, colouring and highlighting. The ‘Endless Summer’ bronzer creates a buildable, sun-kissed warmth that’s never muddy.
The ‘Gen Nude’ Powder Blusher is a naturally warm pink, offering a gentle flush of colour with a skin-like finish.
Emphasise cheek and brow bones with the endless Glow Highlighter for some lit-from-within luminosity that does not glitter. Your natural beauty should shine, even when competing with tinsel.