Beauty bits and pieces are uplifting things for a female: vehicles of expression, warmth and self-assertion.
I tried to defend this during an argument recently, how it starts very early — painting hearts on your nails before school to contrast something that’s only you with the uniform — and then evolves into a mix that distinguishes who you feel you are that day and, eventually, who you are most days (a ‘signature’ look).
We shape our tools only to have them shape us (a man said that but it still fits).
Given I am still very much in the middle of this evolution and Stage 3 feels as unlikely as committing to a tattoo then, yes, yes, it is sometimes important that all twenty nails match my dress.
Here are some September launches that might put you in good spirits:
Meet Gabrielle, Chanel’s new eau de parfum. I think you’ll get on, you two.
Taste is subjective but you can tell she’s popular.
Like a good hostess, she makes a sparkling first impression and fades to something sweet and warm that’s just pleasant to be around.
She is a bit of a girly girl at heart, likes her white flowers: tuberose, ylang ylang, orange blossom and jasmine.
She serves up blackcurrant, grapefruit and mandarin infusions to start and lets sandalwood and musk burn through the evening.
Her house is a gold and graphic thing, designed to look like a jewel alongside her glass neighbours with their crystal stoppers and lines that smack of cognac bottles (so ‘old members’ club,’ no? And youth is her target demographic).
Her avatar, Kristen Stewart, ethereal and glowing through gold-lined eyes in the ads, is a perfect fit in that she’s appealing yet elusive, alluring but sometimes discombobulating.
Gabrielle, flirting on all fronts and with all sides, for everyone and no one but whose is she? Coco we know well enough, but this perfume’s press materials describe her as Chanel’s spirit. Gabrielle was the woman with the plan.
Moisturisers with charitable purpose are a good thing but those that genuinely boost skin are best.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which suits normal-to-dry types and is antioxidant-packed, is out in a cute limited-edition jar this month.
Matthew McConaughey designed the label as a result of Kiehl’s deciding Autism Speaks, an advocacy and support project for sufferers across the spectrum, should benefit from its 2017 Global Philanthropic Program.
McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin after-school program already helps many young people with the condition.
His graffiti-like design includes interlocking puzzle pieces, a reference to the Autism Speaks logo.
Even if you don’t buy the cream, sharing the campaign video online will generate a $1 donation from Kiehl’s to the cause every time you click.
Victoria Beckham is good at makeup. Even back among the dodgy early-Spice Girls looks, you can see she was big on careful lip-lining, neutral shades and a clean, even complexion. Her Estée Lauder work, like her fashion, always seems steeped in personal effort, right down to the videos she makes of self-application in her own bathroom (close up and from bare face, which is not something to which every star her age would submit).
Key to her glamorous international mogul look is glowing skin, so its no wonder the Morning Aura Illuminating Crème, €87, was a sell-out last year.
Lauder reintroduces it this month, along with her popular ‘Modern Mercury’ Highlighter, €66, which she uses to get “sexy sweaty” (I don’t know either but it is a pretty illuminator).
Eye Foil, €34, in ‘Blonde Gold” (pictured) is a metallic cream that really makes blue eyes pop.
There are some familiar powder bronzers in her latest offering too but the best bits are new this season.
A nude Matte Lipstick, €46, called ‘Victoria, a dewy, honey-coloured Aura Gloss for the cheeks and an ultra-lengthening Eye Ink Mascara, €43, are all must-tries.
The mascara, in particular, stands out for its super-skinny lash-defining wand and ability to hold a curl all day. Nobody en route to world domination has time for smudges.
Makeup is tricky to gift but Bobbi’s Long-Wear Gel Liner is so low-effort, so reliably flattering that you’re golden with a pot of black.
A two-tone version may just take you platinum. This limited-edition duo comes 6 shade couples, with options for creating classic grey, brown or nude looks.
The formula is genuinely long-wearing and water-proof. It goes on silky smooth and is so colour-saturated you need only trace the line once.
Two-stripe liner was an Autumn/Winter catwalk trend seen at Prada, Margiela, Moschino and many others.
You can make it your own with these limited-edition duos. It is look that gives eyelids a lift but if you are not into it, the lighter shade doubles as a cream-gel shadow.