Product watch: Valentine’s Day make-up

Dior Beauty ‘Glowing Gardens’ Collection
Product watch: Valentine’s Day make-up

Dior’s pretty spring makeup look is perfect for date night. Inspired by the flowers in Christian Dior’s own garden, the colour range is flattering and feminine in any combination.

Starting with the base, the brand’s Diorskin Nude’s Illuminating Powder is now available in a limited-edition tinted formula.

The Diorskin Nude Air Glowing Gardens, €57, has a lovely soft texture and plenty of blemish-blurring satin pigments.

It is available is shades of rosy nude and beige that best suit light and medium complexions.

Dior’s signature ‘5 Couleurs’ Eye Shadow Palette, €60, comes in two new quintets. ‘Rose Garden’ has contrasting shades of moss green, buttercup yellow, nude beige and tree-bark brown set around a pink cream shadow.

‘Blue Garden’ features slate grey, a cloudy white, a metallic grey and a sparkling coral, all encircling a satin blue.

Give the eye a more open appearance by blending a touch of Diorshow Fusion Mono in Equinoxe, €33.50, a golden taupe over the centre of the lid.

With its sheer colour deposit and second-skin feel, Diorblush, €47.50, is always a great buy.

For Glowing Gardens, the silky powder is reimagined in ‘Floral Pink’ and embossed with flowers.

New for 2016 is the super-useful Colour and Contour Duo, €36.50, a double-ended cream liner and shadow-pen.

The formula is comfortably long-wearing and available in five botanical-inspired shades.

The ‘Hortensia’ violet and ‘Iris’ midnight blue are especially nice.

My pick, however, is Dior Addict It Lash in ‘It Platine,’ €33.50, a dazzling platinum mascara that creates lashes straight out of Barbarella.

The formula holds a perfect curl for hours.

Bobbi Brown ‘Red & Pink’ Collection

Bobbi Brown is this month reviving her Spring 2013 ‘Red and Pink’ colour concept for lips and nails.

The Lip Gloss, €26.50, is non-sticky and treats the finest skin on your face to avocado and jojoba extracts.

This gloss looks especially glamorous in ‘Hollywood Red’. Brown’s signature Rich Lip Colour, is a full coverage lippy that makes a bold statement in ‘Blazing Red’ or ‘Ibiza Pink.’

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day mani-pedi with her Nail Polish, €15, in ‘Pink Peony’ or ‘Cherry Tomato.’

The enamel delivers a consistent, glossy colour with a single coat.

Bella Freud ‘Loving’ Candle, €52.43 at

The prolific Bella Freud makes more than beguiling short films and irreverent logo sweaters.

Her fragrance line is a hipster favourite that includes candles bearing her sketches, as well as signature phrases like ‘Ginsberg is God’ and ‘Je t’aime, Jane’.

‘Loving’ has the intense, romantic scent of an ideal Valentine’s candle.

Heady tuberose is undercut by warming amber and a sandalwood that lingers long after the flame is extinguished.

The candle is fashioned from hand-poured soy wax and burns for 40 hours.

Ouds, baby!

In a market fug of unisex scents and zesty aftershaves, ouds can smell as exclusively masculine as a Michael Bay blockbuster in which Bruce Willis wrecks all the cars from the 2Fast franchise while dressed impeccably in Brioni.

Exotic and irresistible, these agarwood-heavy blends are yang to the yin of uber-feminine white florals.

Most luxury fashion giants offer at least one. Versace Oud Noir Eau de Parfum, €141.50 at Boots, with a formula that enhances woody extracts with cardamom, bitter orange and black pepper, is especially hot.

Brown Thomas stocks some great ouds by smaller Paris perfume houses. Maison by Kilian Musk Oud, €295, which was created by famed perfumer Alberto Morillas as a heady complement to the label’s ‘Arabian Nights’ line.

The composition is bold, comprising robust agarwood and musk base notes.

A hint of geranium creates a citrus balance, while highlights of rum give it a warm finish.

I also like Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Oud Velvet Mood Extrait de Parfum, €371, a dense, enveloping scent with saffron, copahu balm and cinnamon.

Estée Lauder Micro Essence Infusion Mask, €59 for 6 sachets

Estée Lauder face masks are great pre-date treatments: plumping, hydrating and illuminating enough to render makeup an afterthought.

I badly want the brand to bring back the Resilience Lift Extreme Mask, nearly two years discontinued, but this new sheet mask is intriguing.

A skincare staple in Korea, surgical-looking treatment masks are to European beauty junkies synonymous with the P&G-owned company SK-II.

The Facial Treatment Mask, €81.61 at, is their reported bestseller.

Sheet masks are essentially pieces of cotton steeped in water, antioxidants and plant-based emollients.

And preservatives, of course, because without them things would fast get funky inside each sheet’s foil sachet.

The advantage of placing one of these on your face for 10 minutes versus the same time in a water-based lotion or gel equivalent is not significant in my view.

There is a fun pampering element to the cotton, I suppose, but for me, these products’ real value is how well the ingredients with which they are imbued impact skin.

The Micro Essence Infusion Mask is perfumed, like most of the US brand’s formulas.

This is unfortunate because fragrance is sensitising over time and a potential irritant every time. Lauder’s fragrance is extremely mild, however, and you get more proven antioxidants for less money than the luxury competition.

Plant-oil concentrations are generous, so the acne-prone should give this one a miss, but normal to dry skin looks bright and noticeably well-rested after a single treatment.

There is nothing on the ingredients list that should prevent you wearing a mask longer than the suggested 15 minutes, if you fancy spending a bit more time in the bath.

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