If you think blush is just about colour, you are missing out on the humble rouge’s face-shaping potential.
Smashbox forgoes the traditional summer bronzer launch in favour of L.A. Lights Blush & Highlight Palette, €35.50, available in peach, pink or berry trios of tonal blushes.
A brightening shade emphasises bone structure while two richly-pigmented powders let you play with the intensity of the hues beneath.
Smashbox’s ‘L.A. Lights’ products are designed to effect natural light on the skin in the sunny city.
As every starlet knows, great lighting is beauty serum (funny lady Mindy Kaling advises both lining your bra with Christmas lights and befriending cinematographers wherever you find them), and in makeup terms this means formulas packed with crushed minerals and crystalline waxes, both of which blur uneven tone and suit all skin types.
Only the highlighting shade in each palette is at all luminescent.
All three highlighting shades reflect light with gold mica.
Like the shimmery Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights, €34, they blend beautifully and are very long-wearing.
Even if you’re not one for strobing, none of us blush in a single shade naturally.
The medium and deep roses in ‘Pacific Coast Pink’ are ideal for mimicking a healthy glow on fair skin.
Graduated ‘Culver City Coral’ flatters warm complexions.
If you are still seriously into contouring, ‘Berry Lights’ has a rich plum that shapes as dramatically as any matte bronze.
Smashbox helpfully packs an expert application guide in with every palette.
‘Excessive Lash’ Arresting Volume Mascara, €25, is a rare gem, as for such a well-developed pro-makeup brand, Make Up For Ever is short on mascaras.
Before this month there were just three (give or take a waterproof version), and only one I’d recommend.
Compare this with the 10+ top-quality lash-dressings offered by (similarly artist-oriented) MAC.
Both Excessive Lash and Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant, €23, show MUFE really can hold its own in the mascara stakes.
The latter is an emulsion of pigments, oils and wax that leaves lashes conditioned and noticeably longer.
Excessive Lash is dense with fibres and has an exceptionally fine wand.
This allows for maximum definition and lash-building without clumps.
The fibres also make for a glossy, dramatic shade of black that enhances the ‘falsie effect.’
South African skincare experts Environ’s Hydrating Oil Capsules, €59.95, are available in a limited-edition 40-application pack this season.
Skin loves ‘good’ fats and antioxidants just as much as the rest of your body, especially if your natural moisture barrier has been depleted through environmental damage or over-exfoliation.
These goodies can be derived from a healthy diet but plant-based forms also provide excellent support topically.
Serums with high concentrations of skin-identical fats (cholesterol, ceramides) and potent anti- oxidants (green tea, Vitamin A, C and E) are the gold standard.
Ideally they should have very little ‘filler’ (silicones, preservatives), and no alcohol or perfume.
Formulas like these are supported by independent research that lets them transcend seasonal beauty fads.
They help protect and repair skin effectively with no clogged pores or greasy shine, so can benefit all skin-types.
Environ’s Hydrating Oil is such a product and one large capsule provides enough serum to treat the face and neck overnight.
See www.iiaa.eu for your nearest Environ stockist.
Chanel’s desert-themed summer makeup look combines luminous skin with picture-postcard-vivid colours.
My favourite piece is the Creation Empreinte du Désert Palette, €53, a stunning shadow-quad with true-colour shades of emerald, cognac, sand and gold.
Le Volume Waterproof Mascara, €32, in earthy ‘Mirage,’ both thickens and holds a curl well.
Six new shades of Lèvres Scintillants Glossimer, €28, are the easiest way to get a pop of exotic colour.
Silky, lip-plumping gloss in ‘Rouge Désert’ crimson, ‘Sahara’ peach and ‘Dzhari’ boysenberry are especially glamorous.
Les Beiges Healthy Glow Multi-Colour Powder, €55, comes in two new duos this season.
Duo n°1 lets you contour lightly with terracotta brown, while a golden-sand shade adds light to the cheeks and temples.
Duo n°2 includes a deep pink to enhance the cheekbones and a flattering fair beige for highlighting.
The five nail polishes are sure to be the cult hits of the collection, as attractive on fair skin as they are with a tan.
Le Vernis, €23.50, is available in ‘Turban’ peach-pink, ‘Cavalière’ chocolate, ‘Canotier’ beige, orange ‘Espadrilles’ and dazzling ‘Émeraude’ green.
‘Soft Serve’ is a new line of MAC shadow pots and brow pencils in ice-cream inspired shades.
The brand describes the Soft Serve Shadow, €21, as ‘bouncy,’ but the first thing I noticed is how similar its texture is to that of the shimmery 15-Hour Limitless Shadow by sister-brand Smashbox.
They do have similar ingredients lists (not the first example of such overlap: MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation SPF30, €36.50, and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF30, €37, share a formula).
Both creams impart semi-sheer colour but are easy to build.
Most importantly for this product type, they do not crease or shed.
MAC’s colour range is broader and more playful in this instance.
Shades include ‘Bounce Around,’ a silver-taupe; ‘Quite Yummy!,’ a light pink; ‘Cushy Life,’ a warm golden-beige; ‘So So Saucy,’ a mid-peach; ‘Jealous Girl’ mint and ‘Girls, Girls!’ purple satin.
‘Quite Saucy’ and ‘Softened Up’ are probably the most wearable, though if you really want to have some fun you should try clashing your shadow with a ‘Dare Hue!’ Brow Pencil, €18.
There is not a single conventional shade among the six available.
The lavender, lime green and peach tips make for interesting bird-of-paradise look, though there’s no good reason not to use them as pretty eyeliners instead.