Rachel Marie Walsh tries out a range of products, from cleansers, blushes and brow kits, to help you put on your best face for 2015.
Make Up For Ever HD Blush, €28
MUFE’s cream-to-powder blush performs well on all fronts. The formula glides on and there’s plenty of time for blending before it dries to a soft-matte finish. The colour is richly-pigmented and fade-resistant but still sheer enough to let skin shine through. Choose from 15 shades.
Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour, €30
This is an excellent powder blush, if a little pricey for such a small amount of product. The silky grains are super-fine and require minimal blending to create soft, even results. The finish is almost matte with radiance suitable for daytime wear. The natural-look range of shades best suits those with fair-to-medium skin. A few strong shades for darker tones would make it perfect.
bareMinerals Ready Blush, €26
bareMinerals READY Blush is a pressed powder pan and brush. You should certainly discard the brush if you want a natural look. The powder applies easily and evenly with a full brush. The pigments provide long-wearing colour. The shade range is attractive and the finish can be matte, satin, or shimmer.
Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé, €30
This is a satin blush marbleised with jewel-toned shimmers. Fig/Opal is the most natural shade, but this is still more of an evening product. Nonetheless, I love the silky, fine-milled powder, soft colours and glamorous finish. Dry, sun-damaged and mature skin-types may find that shimmer highlights creases and roughness.
Elemis Soothing Chamomile Cleanser, €29.50
Soothing Chamomile Cleanser is a water-based cleanser that contains far more thickener and corn and sunflower oils than chamomile. The emollient texture suits dry to very dry skin, though you should still keep a washcloth to hand for complete removal. The formula leaves skin comfortable and is safe for sensitive types.
Crème de la Mer The Cleansing Foam, €95
This thick turquoise cream is emollient enough to really seize impurities and makeup. The cream produced so much foam when lathered that I felt certain my face would feel tight afterwards but, no, it was very comfy. The foam stings the eyes like crazy, so keep a cotton pad to hand to wipe around them before rinsing. The price is outrageous for something that is on your face so briefly.
Clinique Foaming Sonic Facial Soap, €22
This wash was released as a (separately sold) partner to Clinique’s Purifying Cleansing Brush, €89. Brushing your face twice every day is inadvisable (and it is hard to imagine skin coarse enough to need it), so it is important that this soap is a competent, gentle cleanser in its own right. It is exactly that and leaves skin soft and residue-free.
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Wash B5, €8
This wash is such a great price for sensitive skincare that I was immediately intrigued. The base is water and a gentle detergent cleanser. The B5 of the name is panthenol, which a small amount of research shows can benefit acne and wound-healing. The tightness I felt after cleansing left me wondering whether the level of detergent in the formula is too high and the comforting extracts too few.
Urban Decay Brow Box, €25
Brow Box contains good essentials for blonde and brunette brows. Each kit comes with dark and light shades that you can blend to match your brows. The kit also contains a small pot of wax to tame stray hairs and give extra definition. The tweezers and brush are small but useful in a pinch.
Clarins Brow Kit Pro Palette, €41
This palette looks great, but in practice contains a lot of useless elements. Clarins would do well to produce three smaller kits in natural shades instead of this cluster. The peachy under-brow powder suits few skin-tones and most of us will use two brow-powders at most. The tweezers are inconveniently small.
Too Faced Brow Envy Kit, €40
The Brow Envy Kit is a mix of average-to-good products. The sheer brow powders are matte and create a natural look. The brow pencil needs frequent sharpening to stay accurate. A gel would be handier than the wax provided and the stencils are too thin to create fashionably-natural shapes.
Anastasia Beverly Hills 5-Element Brow Kit, €59.20 www.cultbeauty.co.uk
This case has everything you need for gorgeous brows but the woman who created it, celebrity tweezer Anastasia Soare. Inside are flattering stencils, an angled brush, natural powders, brow gel, a spoolie and the best tweezers I have ever used. Factoring in these high-quality products, the kit’s price seems less excessive.
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