Find what suits you best

I STARTED writing this column seven years ago.

Find what suits you best

During this time, I’ve grown my hair, got new wrinkles, and changed my mind about how I feel about beauty products. Having tried so many over the years, I now realise that there are only a handful of truly memorable products, truly beautiful creams and truly inspirational fragrances out there. So here are a few things I’ve learned along the way, as well as a few beauty products that make my all-time favourites.

1. The fewer products you have, the better you’ll feel. There is no need to stock your cupboard full of beauty products. Our skin is overloaded, allergies are on the increase and our budgets our tight. All this points towards one thing: fewer beauty products. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing: one moisturiser is enough for day and night; a cleanser should multitask as an exfoliator and toner, and we can all get along perfectly fine without an eye cream.

Simplicity with beauty goes a long way, is better for your skin and is better for the environment.

2. Ethical beauty products are the way forward. Years ago, ethical beauty companies were few and far between. And the products you could get a hold of were a little ‘worthy’. But we’ve come a long way since then — ethical beauty is now one of the hottest growth areas in beauty. And from dull, yawn-some packaging comes sleek, super-hip and very desirable products that look as good as they feel. Brands such as Elemental Herbology, Malin + Goetz and Suki prove that you can be good to yourself and to the environment at the same time. After all, who wants to shell out for chemical-laden products, tested on animals and shoved into non-recyclable packaging?

The bad news is that there are still slim pickings on the make-up side of things (although Greek natural brand Korres does great make-up), but over the next few years, we’re likely to see it catching up.

3. Expensive foundations are worth the money. There are lots of beauty products I wouldn’t be bothered spending money on. But when it comes to foundations, I always go for the very best that I can afford. I’ve tested a ton of foundations over the years, and cheaper formulations just don’t cut the mustard. They’re fine, they work grand, but they’re definitely not as good. Foundation should look imperceptible on the skin, and feel like silk to the touch: light, liquid, flawless. If you can, look to Giorgio Armani, Bobbi Brown and Yves Saint Laurent for foundations that you’ll look forward to wearing every day.

4. There’s no point worrying about ageing. It’s going to happen. You think it won’t happen to you and then you wake up one day and realise your face looks a bit Walter Matthau. And you know what, that’s life. And while it does take an initial bit of getting used to, it’s not the end of the world. Botox might be your thing, but it’s definitely not mine. Personally, I’d prefer to spend the money on a fabulous holiday.

5. Don’t fight what nature gave you. I’ve yet to meet anyone who looks better when they completely alter their natural looks. If you’ve got frizzy hair or curly hair, make the most of it — use oils and serums to enhance it, but don’t try and tame it into submission with straighteners. Similarly, if you have very pale, Irish skin, don’t think you have to cover it up with tons of fake tan.

Just look at how much better Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud looks now that she’s binned the fake tan and gone with her natural pale. Enhance what nature gave you, sure, but don’t try to turn yourself into something you are not.

Stuff we like

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Liquid Eyeliner, €22.

No other gel eyeliner matches the quality of this one. It’s excellent. Not only is it really easy to apply, but it lasts incredibly well once it’s on, going from morning to night effortlessly. The little pot is quite generously stuffed with product, meaning that you get great mileage from it, too. I usually go through about one every nine months or a year.

Mac Strobe Liquid, €31.50.

Mac has come out with a good few primer-type products recently that I really like, but when my skin needs to look its very best, then I reach for this one, every time. Anyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it too. You wear it over moisturiser but beneath foundation, and it gives your skin a glow that makes you look incredibly radiant. You only need to use a tiny bit, and it’s best saved for nights out.

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup, €45.

This is a new foundation, so it’s something of a fluke that it’s made it into my best ever beauty products, but it’s really lovely. It somehow manages to perfect your skin, effortlessly, effectively and very beautifully indeed. It has a very fine, elegant and light texture that smoothes into the skin and makes you look like you’ve got the best skin on the block. Love it.

Voya My Little Hero Serum, €55.

Voya is one of my favourite beauty ranges, and it’s Irish, which means local employment. This serum is excellent, and really comes into its own around this time of year when your skin is just crying out for extra hydration. It’s perfect under any moisturiser and works best at night.

La Roche Posay Lipikar Balm 200ml, €8.38.

Body creams come in all sorts of luxurious formulations and scented concoctions, but if you have very dry skin, then it doesn’t matter how expensive it is, it just needs to work. This body cream is the most effective I have tried. It does feel a touch greasy when you wear it during the day, but it softens rough, dry winter skin like nothing else I’ve tried.

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