Rachel Marie Walsh looks at the best serums, creams, and concealers to help keep you looking, and feeling, fresh, confident, and radiant.
Vitamin E serums
Alpha H Vitamin E with Macadamia Serum, €55.60
Vitamin E is one of the most popular, well-researched antioxidants in skincare. It can enhance the efficacy of sunscreen actives, strengthen the natural moisture barrier, and reduce the formation of free radicals.
It can immediately improve the appearance of parched skin. Alpha H provides a very generous concentration in this product. Even so, skin is complex and we know it requires a variety of nutrients to stay healthy.
The 2015 consumer should therefore expect a serum of this price to flank the star ingredients with other great extracts.
It has some macadamia nut but the brand recommends layering this serum with two of its other (separate) vitamin serums (A and C), rather than combining them in one product.
The cost of using all three serums daily is so off-putting that most women are unlikely to look beyond it to appreciate Alpha H’s straightforward, independently-proven skincare regime.
So while this serum definitely deserves an “A” grade, I feel like writing “must try harder” on the paper.
The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil, €22
The Body Shop does many single-ingredient focused serums and this is one of the better ones.
The formula provides a relatively high concentration of wheatgerm which is a good source of Vitamin E, though not the pure form of the ingredient you’d expect of a product with the nutrient in its name.
The wheatgerm is enhanced by a nice mix of antioxidant oils that will comfort dry skin. Sensitive and rosacea-prone types should be wary of all the fragrance in the mix.
Best Buy Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Revitalise Serum, €22 @auravita.com, eChemist.co.uk
This is a great buy for normal to dry skin. The ingredients include a generous quantity of Vitamin E and several other proven anti- oxidants and extracts rich in skin-plumping fatty acids. The formula is so minimally fragranced it also suits sensitive skin.
Neostrata Bionic Face Serum 10 PHA, €43.95
Neostrata’s created an excellent antioxidant serum here. Concentrations of two star anti-ageing ingredients (Vitamins A and E) are high. The formula also includes Vitamin C and lots of arginine, an amino acid known for its healing properties.
Creams for oily skin
MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream with Radiance Booster SPF30, €36.50
Despite having “radiance” in the name, this cream is shimmer-free and a great choice for oily/combination skin. The finish is semi-matte. The texture is light but provides enough coverage to hide redness and minor blemishes.
Best of all, the formula is packed with skin- improving extracts. Vitamin C, licorice and sodium hyaluronate are just three. You will need to layer to take advantage of the broad-spectrum SPF30.
NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturiser SPF30, €38
The best thing about this sheer moisturiser is the extremely natural finish, it’s the most skin-like of the lot. You will have to apply quite a lot of product to take full advantage of the SPF30, so it’s great that it doesn’t leave you looking too made-up. It also keeps shine in check.
The colour range offers great options for all complexions. At this price, I expected to see several anti- oxidants on the ingredients list. Tinted moisturiser is still moisturiser, after all.
Best Buy Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF35, €33
This is more like it! Smashbox’s formula combines strong UV protection, proven skincare ingredients, and oil-control to make skin as photogenic as the name suggests. The eight-shade colour range offers greater chance of a flawless match than most BB Creams.
This is a medium-coverage cream should tone down redness and conceal large pores. The radiant-matte finish is a very pretty.
Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream SPF15, €10.75
Dream Pure is a sheer moisturiser available in natural, flattering shades. The formula is is irritant free and suits even the most sensitive oily skin.
It contains an anti-acne exfoliant (salicylic acid), but little sun protection, so it is important to use a broad-spectrum SPF moisturiser or primer underneath.
Chanel Correcteur Perfection Long-Lasting Concealer, €33.50
This liquid concealer has a gorgeous, silky texture that doesn’t crease. It creates a non-drying, satin-matte finish that lasts for hours.
The price is too high for such a small item but exactly what you’d expect from Chanel. My real bug-bear is the shade range, which doesn’t offer a perfect match for porcelain skin. An under-eye concealer that’s too dark simply isn’t worth wearing.
Mary Kay Concealer, €10.50
Mary Kay’s highly-pigmented, long-wearing concealer can completely hide very dark circles. The shade range lacks options for very fair skin and the true-matte finish will likely highlight dry patches. If these issues aren’t yours, this product is a bargain.
Best Buy MAC Select Cover-Up, €20
MAC’s creamy camouflage is the best of this great bunch of concealers. It comes in a very natural shade range with matches for all complexions. A tiny drop provides excellent coverage with a soft-matte finish. The texture is non-greasy, crease-proof and easy to blend.
L’Oreal Age Rewind Eraser Eye Concealer, €11.99
Roller-ball applicators do very little for the under-eye area beyond temporarily redistributing the fluid that can accumulate and puff it up overnight. This fluid is not what causes the permanent eye-bags that occur with age (only a surgeon can act as an “eraser” for those). Gimmicky packaging aside, this is a very good makeup buy. The formula is lightweight but neutralises dark circles well. It sets to a matte finish and doesn’t fade.
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