Rachel Marie Walsh rates the best products on beauty counters this month.
RETINOL BODY TREATMENT
Paula’s Choice Resist Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment, €30.90
Retinol and its sister Vitamin A derivatives have been shown to improve some 125 different skin issues, including sun damage, acne scars and even cellulite, so it is as least as useful in caring for the body as it is the face.
It is also a mild, gradual exfoliant, so keeps skin soft without threatening its natural moisture barrier.
Paula’s Choice has blended the star ingredient with several other antioxidant extracts in a fragrance and alcohol-free formula.
My only issue is the cost of this product, especially as each pump bottle contains enough cream for only ten days.
However, similar products are typically more expensive and not so well formulated.
Environ AVST Face and Body Oil, €50
This luxurious body oil enhances retinol’s anti-ageing powers with lots of Vitamins C and E. Jojoba and sunflower seed oils keep skin supple.
The formula is fragrance and alcohol-free. It also contains a UVB filter, though this product should certainly be layered under a broad-spectrum sun cream with SPF 25 or higher to ensure adequate daytime protection.
Adding a dash to your facial moisturiser will boost its reparative properties but not all skin types can tolerate high concentrations of retinol or Vitamin C, so introduce it gradually.
Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment with Rose and Edelweiss, €86
The extensive ingredients list for this product shows soothing emollients, wonderful antioxidants and potentially irritating fragrant oils.
The luxurious texture and fatty-acid content suits very dry skin that is not sensitive. There is relatively little retinol in the formula.
Clarins Renew Plus Body Serum Age-Defying Concentrate, €51.50
This too contains a wealth of excellent antioxidants, including retinol, as well as several luxurious plant oils.
Unfortunately the perfume content is more prevalent than any one of them, with the exceptions of cashew nut-oil, glycerin and squalane. Renew Plus is not a bad moisturiser for very dry skin.
CLEANSERS FOR OILY SKIN
Facial Fuel Sky Flyin’ Foaming Multi-Gel Shave Gel and Face Cleanser for Men, €16.50
Most men will probably use this gel for shaving and it does foam up well, thanks to the detergent cleansing agents in its base.
These ingredients can leave skin feeling a bit dry and tight. More problematic (especially if you use this product daily) are the potentially irritating fragrant extracts in the mix.
The cooling, tingly sensation generated by menthol, in particular, may feel good in the short term but is actually skin’s response to irritation (just as a sudden feeling of heat or burning would be).
Shaving removes skin’s outermost layer, a form of exfoliation that increases sensitivity.
A fragrance and alcohol-free cleanser/shave gel is the most soothing choice.
Liz Earle Naturally Active Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, €19
Liz Earle describes this cleanser as suitable for all skin-types.
I include it here because, while it contains fragrance ingredients that aren’t great for anyone’s skin, I believe it is an poor choice for the oily or spot-prone.
This is because of the wax and other emollients in its base, all of which are more suited to skincare for dry types.
Bioderma Sébium Purifying Cleansing Foaming Gel,€12
Bioderma is most famous for its micellar water but this gel cleanser is an equally good choice for oily skin.
The formula is free from fragrance and drying, soap-like cleansing agents.
Irritation can trigger excess oil production in acne-prone skin, so it is important to use products like this to keep things calm and comfortable.
Estée Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Cleansing Gelée, €26.50
While not ideal for heavy makeup removal, this gentle gel cleanser is a great first step in caring for your oily skin.
The fragrance-free formula leaves your face smooth and refreshed without drying.
There’s no need to employ cotton pads or a cloth for thorough removal.
Its scrub beads are not abrasive enough to interfere with skin’s natural moisture barrier, so can safely be used for daily cleansing.
LIQUID EYE SHADOWS
Dior Addict Fluid Shadow, €34.50
This a high-shine metallic shadow available in a surprisingly (for Dior) unflattering colour range.
The thin fluid is quite high in non-fatty alcohol and contains perfume and fragrant natural compounds.
Alcohol is drying and all of these ingredients are potential irritants that, with regular wear, make an already-sensitive area more vulnerable.
Very disappointing, particularly as Dior’s powder and cream shadows set such a high bar for comparison.
The packaging is a plus-point, as the wand’s fine tip makes it easy to use the shadow as liquid liner.
Giorgio Armani ‘Smoky Neutrals’ Eye Tint, €32
This tint is lightweight with the kind of dry texture that lends itself to hours of wear.
The formula is alcohol and fragrance-free. Unlike Armani’s original eye tints, the finish is matte and the shade range is more classic than trend-driven.
Six suit-anyone smoky hues — rock, wood, tan, spice, sand and nude — are intense with colour pigments from first application.
Clinique Lid Smoothie Anti-Oxidant 8 Hour Eye Colour, €24
This shadow is indeed smooth-textured and long-wearing but I think the antioxidant content is too low to merit titular mention.
The formula is more wax and silicone than anti-ageing.
It is irritant-free, which would make it ideal for mature and sensitive eyes were it not too shimmery to conceal lines or flaky skin.
If you don’t mind a radiant finish, you’ll certainly find something you like in the subtle, flattering shade range.
Laura Mercier Eye Basics, €30
For me, the purpose of liquid eye makeup is to define like a shadow (enhancing an open, symmetrical shape), without making it look as though I’m wearing much of anything.
Eye Basics achieves this beautifully, with a skin-like matte finish and a shade range that includes nudes and coffees.
The formula is safe for even very sensitive eyes and does not cake or crease.
The applicator’s mini-sponge tip isn’t great for blending product into your socket-line, but this is otherwise a great buy.
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