Bumble and Bumble’s Don’t Blow It, €30, is a lightweight creme designed to making hair dried naturally look polished.
Air drying is the most low-maintenance of styling techniques and has obvious health benefits for your tresses.
I’ve recently begun swimming in the mornings, much to my hair’s distress, and seek to offset the chlorine assault by using heated appliances less. The fallout can be quite a hit-and-miss affair aesthetically.
Depending on your hair type, air-drying risks frizz, flyaways and flat roots.
I also miss the cheerful swish that comes with a good blow dry.
What can a single product do?
Don’t Blow It! contains lightweight conditioners for smoothed, shiny ends.
Two silicone polymers create body and non-sticky texture.
The formula defines natural curls nicely, particularly if you pin them up to dry.
this also exposes the more of your roots to air, so you don’t need to use powder or dry shampoo later.
It also contains broad-spectrum sun protection, which prevents colour fading and the degradation of hair protein.
‘Tis already the season for super-bumper-giant colour palettes that make wonderful gifts for makeup junkies.
The Smashbox Art. Love. Color. Collection Master Class Palette, €67, is particularly special.
The interior is comprised of two large palettes bearing forty shades of eye and cheek colours. The colours are inspired by Barcelona-born artist Yago Hortal and a swirl of his abstract expressionism appears on the lid. Don’t you love makeup brands celebrating young artistic talent?
While most shades are bright and trend-friendly, there are also several neutral, rosy and smoky hues.
The powders are just as silky and flake-proof as those used in Smashbox’s award-winning Blush Rush and Photo Op Eye Shadow compacts.
The brand also provides blank face charts — the kind upon which new looks are designed backstage at fashion shows — so you can get creative at home.
Hybrid lip products rarely perform consistently well in every category they attempt — gloss, balm, etc — yet Giorgio Armani really has hit upon the Meryl Streep of lip colours this season.
Ecstasy Lacquer is just so good at everything. The formula’s coverage, consistency, longevity and conditioning chops are all top-notch.
Intense colour comes courtesy of Armani’s “vinyl technology,” which involves a high concentration of water-soluble pigments.
The shade range is extensive (‘Uptown’ and ‘Vintage’ are the best of 18), and includes metallic and high-gloss finishes.
All in all, this product offers the comfort of a balm, the intensity of a lacquer and the tenacity of a stain.
The lighter shades can also be used as sheer topcoats for your favourite lipstick.
Ecstasy isn’t transfer-proof, unfortunately, but Meryl never fails to make an impression either.
Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Lacquer, €31.50, available exclusively at Brown Thomas Cork, Dublin & Limerick and via brownthomas.com
November wind and post-summer sun damage are a drying, sensitising pair. This is the time of year when facial oils seem an appealing alternative to serum.
They feel luxurious and the extra massage time they require plumps away any post-sleep “pillow face.”
Clinique’s Smart Custom Repair Treatment Oil, €44, is a great option for all but the very oily-skinned. Unlike much of its competition in this category, it does not rely on a high concentration of one or two ingredients.
The formula is packed with antioxidant and skin-soothing extracts.
In the short term, they leave skin plumped and glowing. Used in combination with sun protection, they strengthen skin’s natural moisture barrier and help repair wrinkle-deepening, age-spot generating UV damage.
The “smart” of the title refers to the same curious promise you might well remember from last year’s Clinique Smart Custom Serum launch.
This was when the brand suggested that product could somehow intuit the care required by specific skin issues and target them accordingly.
This is just as untrue of this oil as it is of the serum, the benefits of both products are uniform wherever they are applied.
Both are great products regardless.
On the subject of facial pampering, I’ll finish by recommending Skincere to those with dry or sensitive skin. This Leicestershire-based company focuses on ultra-soothing formulas.
The brand also uses several antioxidants that have independent research bolstering their anti-ageing credentials.
The packaging and marketing make much of their developers avoiding nut oils, wheat and dairy. Presumably this is to attract vegans and nut allergy-sufferers, as none of these “nasties” typically harm the skin when applied topically.
Alcohol and artificial fragrance (both of which can harm the skin) are also off the Skincere menu.
There are some fragrant extracts in their products (eg gardenia taitensis), so they aren’t completely unscented, but these ingredients are present in such teeny-tiny concentrations (and placed low on such lo-ong lists of skincare goodies) that even very sensitive types shouldn’t find them irritating.
I especially like Skincere Night Cream, €33.99, and Skincere Facial Serum, €27.19, both of which are water-based and rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory extracts and essential fatty acids.
Skincere is available at Holland&Barrett and via hollandandbarrett.ie