Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

Rachel Marie Walsh sorts through the latest pre-shampoos, serum concealers and foundation sticks.

PRE-SHAMPOO

BEST BUY: 

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Metamorph Oil pre-shampoo oil balm, €35.70

5/5

If you shampoo and use styling products daily, a pre-cleanse or scalp treatment can improve your hair’s condition and appearance. 

This balm suits all hair types and turns to milk in water. It contains a long list of antioxidant and fatty-acid extracts, which belie its lightweight texture.

It also smells divine. Kérastase says it boosts the performance of your regular conditioner, and while this is hard to judge, my curls were softer and bouncier, after a trial application.

J.F. Lazartigue Oily Scalp Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask, €31.68 at www.feelunique.com 

4/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

This product tackles scalp conditions common to oily hair, rather than excess oil. 

Bee propolis is the key ingredient, and, while it is known for anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it won’t absorb oil. It will, however, kill the microorganisms that cause seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.

Irritating skin can exacerbate oil production, and so bee propolis is ideal. The ingredients include soothing, natural extracts, like burdoch and birch, some of which are used in natural, acne remedies. 

It feels pampering, and pre-cleansing an oily scalp with a gentle product is no bad thing.

Leonor Greyl Paris L’Huile de Leonor Greyl Beautifying Oil for Lengths and Ends, €45.61 at www.feelunique.com 

5/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

This is Leonor Greyl’s signature product and a cult favourite among beauty editors. 

The weighty, glass bottle contains an extremely rich treatment, best-suited to thick, dry hair. 

It is a concentrated oil blend with sesame, hazelnut, and sunflower extracts, as well as a little perfume. You may need to shampoo twice to clear it completely, but you can easily skip the conditioner.

Matrix Oil Wonder Volume Rose Pre-Shampoo Treatment, €14.95

3/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

This pre-shampoo is very heavily fragranced and short on beneficial ingredients for the hair and scalp. 

Even the eponymous, rosa canina fruit-oil is present in a very small concentration. Heavy fragrance won’t impact the hair negatively, but may irritate the scalp.

SERUM CONCEALER

BEST BUY:

BareMinerals BareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer, €26

5/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

The product lacks the range of skincare ingredients you’d expect of a serum, but, otherwise, does exactly what it says on the tube. The formula doesn’t cake or crease. 

The coverage is total, despite the lightweight, silicone-rich feel. It is available in a broad range of natural-looking shades and won’t fade as the day progresses.

Stila Aqua Glow Serum Concealer, €25

4/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

Aqua Glow contains plenty of anti-ageing and soothing ingredients, as a good serum would. The formula creates a subtle radiance, as it camouflages, so is more effective on dark circles than spots. 

Its texture is liquid and tends to settle, which is unfortunate in a product designed for the under-eye area. A post-application powdering is important.

Estée Lauder Youth Infusing Brightening Serum + Concealer, €36

4/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

This is pretty pricey, but it is truly an all-purpose flaw-suppresser. No matter what your blemish, one end or the other will have you covered. 

The serum is rich in antioxidants (so improves skin over time), and doesn’t crease or highlight dryness. 

The formula is not just brightening, it provides substantial camouflage for any discolouration, or for dull areas.

RMK Super Basic Liquid Concealer, €22.40 at www.beautybay.com 

4/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

RMK’s silky concealer is anything but basic. The formula contains hydrating avocado oil, raspberry extract, and hyaluronic acid. It protects skin with broad-spectrum SPF30. 

The click-pen keeps the ingredients stable and makes touch-ups a cinch. The three-shade range lacks options for dark skin-tones. 

This isn’t one for hiding large blemishes, but does camouflage dark circles, and other pigmentation issues, quickly and easily. Super Basic best suits normal-to-dry skin, as it is quite emollient.

FOUNDATION STICKS

Benefit Play Sticks Cream-to-Powder Foundation, €39

3/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

Stick foundations are perfect for those who want medium-to-full coverage in a hurry. Highly-pigmented sticks even let you forgo concealer. 

Colour is the most important factor in selecting one, as the wrong shade will create a ‘makeup mask,’ and an obvious distinction between your face and ears/neck/décolleté. Play Sticks come in just three shades, with no options for dark skin.

The cream formula dries a bit too quickly for significant blending. If you’re quick, it sets to a flattering satin-matte finish. 

It contains antioxidant ingredients (Vitamin A,C and E), but in tiny quantities. There is more fragrance in the mix than any of these goodies. The dry finish may highlight dehydrated areas.

Shiseido ‘The Makeup’ Stick Foundation, SPF15, €42.50

5/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

This makeup is too expensive for what is essentially a large concealer. I really like it, anyway. 

‘The Makeup’ is rich, too much so for the breakout-prone, but other types should find it comforting on the skin and easy-to-work-with. 

It dries to a radiant powder-finish and doesn’t cake under the eyes or require a setting product. Broad-spectrum SPF15 is too mild to use as your sole sun protection, but every little helps.

Clinique ‘Chubby in the Nude’ Foundation Stick, €32

2/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

Clinique’s Chubby Sticks are great cream formulas for eyes, lips, and cheeks, but their skin-targeted counterparts have yet to impress me. 

The ‘Sculpting Highlight’ Chubby fades fast and is emollient enough to emphasise pores. The ‘Sculpting Contour’ Chubby is too warm a brown to create natural contours. 

‘Chubby in the Nude’ has a dry texture that makes blending difficult, like that of an old-fashioned pan stick. On the plus side, the shade range is comprehensive. Free from potential irritants.

BEST BUY:

Maybelline Fit Me Anti-Shine Foundation Stick, €11.49

5/5

Tried and tested: Pre-shampoos, serum concealers, foundation sticks

Now, this is more like it. Maybelline’s best-selling Fit Me! liquid makeup is even better in stick form. This is a gel-cream foundation with a powder ‘anti-shine core’. 

Blended together, they best suit normal to oily skin. The texture is very light and both parts can be finger-blended quickly to an even, radiant-matte finish.

The shade range is excellent. Fit Me!’s formula is fragrance-free and long-lasting. Bottom line: a total bargain.


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