Product watch: April's best beauty launches

Great new moisturisers and shimmering makeup shades arrive in stores this week. Rachel Marie Walsh reports.

Product watch: April's best beauty launches

Chanel Eyes Collection

Kristen Stewart’s first Chanel beauty campaign makes the most of the star’s naturally feline eyes.

The season’s latest products include four additions to Chanel’s signature makeup line.

Dimensions de Chanel Mascara, €31.59, is extremely emollient-rich, loaded with more paraffin, cholesterol, and carnauba wax than colour pigments.

While these keep lashes shiny and super-soft, I did predict smearing and poor hold for carefully-created curls.

Happily, there does seem to be enough powders and protein in the formula to keep both colour and curves intact (though Le Volume de Chanel Waterproof Mascara better retains the latter in naturally long lashes).

The eponymous dimensions are evident in lashes’ instantly-enhanced length and definition.

The wand’s narrow tip is designed to pick out and perk up fine or short lashes, while dense middle fibers ensures an even coat for each and every one.

This mascara comes in practical black or brown but I much prefer the glossy cobalt shade.

Also joining the brand’s signature line is the Perfect Brows Palette, €45, which houses tweezers, an angled brush, and two pans of silky brow-powder, though sadly no shade options for the fair-haired.

Blondes will be happier with Les Quatre Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow, €50, in Tissé Particulier.

The limited-edition colour palette has three shimmery pink (eggshell, candy, and rose-gold) shades, and a dramatic sapphire for evening-wear.

Two other, more classic palettes, ‘Tissé Essentiel’ and ’Tissé Dimensions’ will be available beyond the season and offer earth tones and a mix of amethyst and neutrals respectively. Best of all are the six limited-edition shades of Stylo Eyeshadow Fresh Effect Eyeshadow, €28.50.

The antioxidant-boosted cream looks especially pretty in golden beige, grey-green, and platinum-bronze.

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence, €75

Books shouldn’t be judged by covers but a moisturiser’s packaging is significant.

A jar or glass bottle that exposes the formula to light, oxygen or contaminants can render pricey ingredients less effective from the break of a seal.

Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence’s pump bottle is ideal, and houses generous quantities of a number of proven anti-agers.

Vitamins C and E are obvious goodies, and Murad’s also packed lots of watermelon and apple, as well as yeast amino-acids known for their reparative benefits.

A lightweight formula with so many potent antioxidants is perfect for oily or combination types who may be skimping on post-cleansing care to avoid greasy shine.

Dry skin needs something more emollient layered on top, though Essence’s glycolic acid makes bright work of any crepey patches.

Sensitive skin may react to the considerable amount of this exfoliant or to the very minor amount of fragrance.

I repeat this often because I care: anti-ageing skincare is worthless without daily use of broad-spectrum sun protection (factor 25 or higher).

Bobbi Brown Nourishing Lip Color Oil-Infused Shine, €27

Lips bear the face’s most vulnerable skin and while a thick layer of balm or SPF chapstick is smart, it isn’t especially sexy.

Bobbi Brown launches a collection of compromises this month.

Mouth-pampering mouthful Nourishing Lip Color Oil-Infused Shine contains a quintet of fatty acid-packed extracts, which plump lips naturally as they aid skin’s natural moisture barrier. The formula also employs significant amounts of Vitamins E and C.

Ideally there would be substantial broad-spectrum sun protection in the mix but there never is in lipsticks.

UV filters make the colours look weird, but it is worth wearing a separate SPF lip balm underneath or just brushing on your SPF foundation as a base.

The sixteen-shade range is this products second best point — luminous classic and trend-friendly hues abound.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder, €46 at SpaceNK Dublin, www.johnlewis.com 

“Strobing” is a beauty buzzword for highlighting one’s bone structure and Hourglass’s new strobe powder is a fancy highlighter. So fancy, in fact, that the fibers are virtually undetectable after minimal blending, save for their luminous finish.

I really like that this product comes in a range of subtle tints.

Radiance flatters all complexions, of course, but I look as naturally lit in yellow-gold as Mediterranean skin does in pearlescent shell-pink.

The weighty compact is certainly expensive but there is a substantial cushion of powder in the pan and a little shimmer goes a long way.

Neostrata Ultra Moisturising Face Cream, €44.95, see www.neostrata.ie for local stockists

Neostrata’s clinical-look packaging may not catch your eye in the chemist but this US brand really is worth your attention.

It offers wonderfully gentle sun-protection products, but leave-on exfoliants are its real forte.

Neostrata’s founding dermatologists own over 100 US and foreign patents related to skincare and specialise in alpha hydroxy and polyhydroxy-acid research.

AHAs are quite widely used in cosmetics and can be wonderful for dry, sun-damaged skin. PHAs are similar but less common and present a gentle, non-irritating option for sensitive skin when used in a formula like this one.

Ultra Moisturising Face Cream is fragrance and alcohol-free and has some skin-soothing extracts (I think the brand could have been a little more generous with those, given the price). It also contains gluconolactone, a PHA pioneered by Neostrata.

Leave-on exfoliants are best used at night and followed up with broad-spectrum UV protection in the morning. Smoother, softer and more even-toned skin emerges quickly.

Over-exfoliation causes irritation and sensitivity, so do go easy.

I recommend using it once a week initially, to gauge skin’s reaction.

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