Product watch

Grapeseed oil packs a powerful antioxidant punch.

Constituent polyphenols, flavonoids and proanthocyanins help repair sun damage and reduce free radical damage. This non-fragrant oil also has wound-healing properties. Topical application has been found to boosts skin’s synthesis of collagen, elastin and to improve many other structural components of skin. Try blending Neal’s Yard Grapeseed Oil, €8.50, right, with your favourite lotion.

Jojoba oil is a great dry skin moisturiser. This affordable plant extract is one of several natural oils that mimic skin’s own lipid content (other purse-friendly examples include apricot, almond, olive and canola), all of which improve the look and feel of dry skin. Ingredients that support the skin’s natural moisturise barrier allow skin to repair and regenerate itself, unhindered by irritants and environmental stress. Use a few drops of Holland and Barrett Jojoba Oil, €20.99, right, to enrich your favourite moisturiser or pop the bottle in a cup of hot water for a hot oil hair treatment.

Squalene is extracted from shark’s liver or olives. This is another oil that mimics the lipids in your skin’s epidermis (outermost layer). It contains great antioxidant, anti-irritant and immune-stimulating properties. Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Ageing Hand, Neck and Décolleté Cream, €40.60, right, combines it with other great antioxidants and can also be used on the face and hands.

Argan oil forms the base of many rich conditioners but also has emollient and antioxidant benefits for the skin. It contains lots of lipids that help maintain skin’s natural moisture barrier, including oleic acid, linoleic acid and palmitic acid. Argan contains vitamin E and is a natural source of ferulic acid, which research suggests provides both sun-protective and antioxidant benefits (not that it should replace your SPF cream!). Try John Masters Organics 100% Argan Oil, €35.15, right, at

Matricaria Oil is extracted from chamomile and traditionally used for medicinal purposes. This is a wonderful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and wound-healing moisturiser for the skin. These benefits (combined with chamomile’s antibacterial properties) make it especially good for sensitive and acne-prone skin. I highly recommend Clinique CX Antioxidant Serum, €140, for all skin types. This fragrance and irritant-free serum teams matricaria with other emollients and proven antioxidants.

Kukui Nut Oil is a non-fragrant plant-extract native to India and Indonesia. Like matricaria, it is anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, anti-bacterial and a wonderful antioxidant. It is very kind to sensitive and acne-prone skin, being such a gentle emollient that a 2007 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science calls it a safe oil-carrier for eye medication. Try Fushi Kukui Nut Oil, €12.51

Marula Oil caused as much beauty buzz in 2013 as argan oil did in 2011. This African fruit-extract is packed with antioxidants, including oleic acid, flavonoids and four times as much Vitamin C as orange oil. Regular use (combined with gentle cleansing, exfoliation and a good SPF) helps skin to renew itself, repairs sun damage and reduce free radical damage. Try Fushi Virgin Marula Oil, €17.27, right.

Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil is really just sunflower oil, though it is rarely listed thus on cosmetics labels. This is a great source of the skin-conditioning agent linolenic acid. Extensive research shows that topical application of this can improve several skin issues, including eczema, psoriasis and acne.

Linolenic acid helps repair skin’s moisture barrier and is anti-inflammatory. It is also thought to communicate with the cells that comprise skin’s immune system, as evidenced by research showing it aids wound healing. Strivectin Volumizing Hand Treatment, €30, right, teams helianthus annuus with a great mix of emollients and proven antioxidants.

Beauty clinic

Q: The older I get, the smaller my eyes look. How can I make them look bigger?

A: Catwalk makeup artist Alan Pan says big eyes are all about neutral shadows, fine eyeliner and contrasting mascara. “To enlarge the eyes, start with a pale shadow on the inner corners. Cream shadows work best on mature skin as they provide a base to hold other shadows in place,” he explains. “Spread Estée Lauder Pure Colour Shadow Paint in Halo, €22, across the lid using your fingers. Apply a neutral shadow across the middle of the eye and then use a darker shade for the outer corners.

“Create a very fine line of black or brown liner to define the eye, applying it close to the base of the top lashes (he recommends Estée Lauder Double-Wear Gel Liner, €23.50).

“Use brown mascara on the lower lashes, even if you use black on the top lashes. The lighter the colour, the more ‘lift’ it gives eyes. Estée Lauder Sumptuous Two-Tone Mascara, €33, is perfect for this as it contains black and brown mascaras in one tube.”


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