DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, €27.95 @ feelunique.com This luxurious, olive-based oil is DHC’s best-selling product and suits normal-to-dry skin. The olive oil is mixed with an emulsifying agent that enhances its cleansing power and makes the formula easy to rinse off, though you may still need a face cloth. A small amount of fragrant oil may bother sensitive types.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, €28 This fragrance-free balm turns to oil on the skin. The formula removes make-up effectively with a gentle mix of emollients and antioxidant plant oils. Quite rich and best suited to dry skin or sensitive skin that is not prone to spots.
Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil, €33 This pricey cleanser is water-based and closer to milk than oil. However, the formula does an excellent job of removing make-up and impurities without stripping the skin. The formula suits all skin types, though a touch of scent may irritate very sensitive skin.
L’Oreal Paris 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil, €12.29 L’Oreal deserves credit for making cleansing oil affordable; most supermarket brands steer clear of this product category. The mineral-oil based formula does a fair job of removing make-up and isn’t too rich for oily types. It says it suits all skin types but can leave dry skin tight. It has a lot of potentially-irritating fragrance in the mix.
Estée Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum, €63 No topical product can effectively “lift” wrinkles but this serum is still an excellent addition to any skincare routine. The CP + R stands for correct, prevent, and repair and the wonderful ingredients list of proven, potent antioxidants and cell-replenishers certainly do that (though you need to wear broad-spectrum SPF daily to maximise their effects). The fragrance-free formula also contains makeup-like ingredients that will temporarily fill wrinkles and blur flaws.
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Hydra-Pure Firming Serum, €81.22 @ feelunique.com This is more lotion than serum and best suited to normal or dry skin. The formula contains a great range of antioxidants and moisturisers, including useful amounts of retinol and vitamin C. It is fragrance and irritant-free. For this price one should get more than 30ml.
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic High Potency Antioxidant Serum, €150 This fantastic-but-overpriced serum contains an exceptionally high amount (15%) of vitamin C, a super-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. The “E” and “ferulic” of the title are Vitamine and ferulic acid, which are also excellent at repairing skin and preventing further damage. There is even some evidence to suggest the latter protects against UV rays (though this is no reason to stop applying your SPF moisturiser.)
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Daily Serum, €210 Again, this serum is overly expensive but it does contain a fantastic list of proven antioxidants, skin-soothers and repairing ingredients. The formula contains perfume and some fragrant extracts that may irritate sensitive skin.
The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain, €15.95 This water-based stain imparts very natural looking colour. The finish is slightly radiant and quite long-lasting. The formula is easily blended and contains a nice range of skin conditioners. It is also fragrance-free. Some additional shades would be welcome.
Benefit Posietint, €33.50 Posietint is a sheer pomegranate liquid lighter than Benetint, its sister stain. Less is more, especially as the formula dries too quickly to allow time for blending to a natural finish on cheeks. The brush makes it easy to use on the lips.
Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Kiss & Blush, €30 This is a wonderful lightweight cream that comes in a nail-polish style bottle with a sponge-tipped applicator. It dries smoothly to a semi-matte finish, leaving plenty of time for blending. Some of the shades are dramatic for day but Rose Frivole should suit most.
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, €10.99 This moisturising balm blends to a natural finish on cheeks and provides long-lasting lip colour. The pencil is available in a flattering range of richly-pigmented shades. Annoyingly, the formula contains peppermint oil which is irritating for lips and skin.