Product Watch: Put your best face forward in 2017

Put your best face forward for 2017 with these easy-to-keep resolutions. Rachel Marie Walsh reports

Embrace Hair’s Natural Texture

Sometimes hair trends take a turn that make you think: “We’re doing this now? Really? Why do I bother?” And so it is that after years of meticulous ironing, followed by tonged curls and velcro rollers, with detours into braided up-dos and down extensions, the forecast for Spring 2017 is natural texture. Nurturing and embracing what makes your hair unique is the thing, though surely such individualism is anti-trend? This is Instagram’s doing, editorialising life in photos makes snowflakes of us all. Anyway, the poster girls for this trend are models of the moment. Frederikke Sofie, and Dilone, pictured, showed off their Pre-Raphaelite curls on the catwalk and at this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards. Mica Arganaraz, whose shaggy bob and piece-y fringe are distinctly Jagger, has been muse to several directional designers these last two years, most notably Miuccia Prada and Jonathan Anderson.

An Olaplex salon treatment does much to restore the virgin condition of colour-treated or heat-damaged locks, especially if you use the aftercare at home once a week. Here’s the science bit: the keratin proteins of the hair shaft are cemented by disulphide and hydrogen bonds. While the curliness (or straightness) of your hair depends on the shape of the follicle, it’s the disulphide bonds that keep the hair in the shape it was formed. Hydrogen bonds are easily broken by the application of water and can be temporarily reset with heat until wet again, but disulphide bonds are more essential to hair’s elasticity and strength. They break when hair is coloured or subjected to regular heat and chemical treatments. Olaplex’s patented active ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, bonds with the broken sulphurs, making a strengthening - though artificial - extended disulphide bridge.

It is important to note that Olaplex is not a a deep conditioner, so don’t drop your argan oil-mask it its favour. Nor will having the treatment give you licence to bleach your hair with abandon consequence-free. However, having had it done a month ago and continued with Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3, €28.50, my hair is noticeably stronger. Search for your nearest salon provider.

Switch To Hybrid Makeup

Save money and bag space with Becca Multi-Perfecting Powder, €35, which performs all but one of its multiple purposes well. Highlighting and contouring are contrasting effects, and the powder can only really do the former. Still, this fragrance-free pressed powder works as promised otherwise. The subtle satin-matte finish creates a second-skin glow. The fibers can be used wet or dry and layer on for seamlessly full coverage.

Becca Multi-Perfecting Powder, €35, performs all but one of its multiple purposes well.
Becca Multi-Perfecting Powder, €35, performs all but one of its multiple purposes well.

YSL’s new Baby Doll Kiss & Blush Duo Stick, €33, in shade six, ‘From Prude to Nude’ is more useful for contouring. This twist-up cream comes in six shade duos, including a nude pink and nude beige. As the name suggests, the stick doubles as lipstick.

Calm Keratosis Pilaris

Baring arms, whether you tone them with shopping bags or plank-rotate like its your job, is a whole lot less fun when keratosis pilaris invades. KP is a genetic skin disorder that looks like a rash of small red bumps. It is controllable and may recede or go into complete remission seasonally or with age or hormonal changes. While the bumps result from pores clogged with hardened keratin and sebum, it is useful to remember that the condition is inflammatory. Ridding your body-care regime of aggravating products makes it less noticeable. Scrubs, heavy fragrance, detergent cleansers and alcohol promote irritation in KP sufferers. Bar soap is also to be avoided, not because of the soap itself but the drying ingredients that shape it.

To beat it at source you need a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) product with the active ingredient salicylic acid. BHAs are oil soluble so can penetrate natural sebum and cleanse inside the pore lining.

Salicylic acid has antimicrobial properties that can help clear similar body blemishes, such as ingrown hairs. It is related to acetyl salicylic acid (aspirin), so also has anti-inflammatory properties (though if you react badly to one you should certainly avoid the other). Salicylic products for the body are not so widely available over the counter as they are for the treatment of facial acne. Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Body Treatment with 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid, €36.95 at, is a good buy. UV protection is especially important after exfoliation. As with eczema or psoriasis management, the persistent use of treatment products is key.

Baby Doll Kiss & Blush Duo Stick, €33. Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3, €28.50.
Baby Doll Kiss & Blush Duo Stick, €33. Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3, €28.50.

Use More Vitamin C

Luminosity, fake or otherwise, is the great complexion goal or our time. All makeup — from primer to finishing powder — is available with light-reflecting pigments and many serums and moisturisers are formulated with them in order to create the impression of instant results. Products that can truly make your skin brighter are rich in Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is the form for which there is the most positive research, though there are others that have notable literature demonstrating their efficacy. Check ingredients lists for sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl glucoside.

When properly formulated (this ingredient is notoriously volatile), Vitamin C serums and moisturisers help to create younger-looking skin, lightening the effects of UV damage and boosting moisture levels. It can also help skin’s surface rebuff environmental aggressors. MAC Lightful C Vibrancy Eye Cream, €37, is a great brightening moisturiser. I also rate Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Hydra Pure Brightening Serum, €92.45, and Paula’s Choice Resist Vitamin C Targeted Spot Treatment, €58.95, both at, for improving skin texture.

Prime With Benefits

Oil-control and sun-protection products can so interfere with the smooth application of makeup that it makes sense to combine them with your base. NARS’ latest primers, €34 each, come with benefits. The Radiance Primer contains broad-spectrum SPF35 and a range of reparative antioxidants, including evodia rutaecarpa, a fruit extract employed for its soothing properties in Chinese Medicine. As the name suggests, this primer creates a luminous base for makeup, minimising pores and reducing the appearance of fine lines.

The Smooth and Protect primer creates the same effect with SPF50, a degree of protection rare in such a lightweight formula. The Pore and Shine Control Primer absorbs excess shine with gentle mineral clays and while it conceals pores temporarily also work to diminish them over time with skin-balancing peptides.


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