This is a Beauty Clinic special

Chanel's new lip crayon.

Have a beauty problem that needs solving? Rachel Marie Walsh has all the answers.


What is ombré lipstick and should I be wearing it?

Not if you favour a natural look! Ombré or gradient lipstick is achieved by layering a light colour over the heart of a bold lip and blending. 

It is an exaggeration of the dark liner/light lipstick effect, less harsh in appearance but still very artificial. 

Its purpose is, of course, to give the impression of larger lips. The look reminds me of Film Noir poster-girls. 

Dior’s ombre make up.
Dior’s ombre make up.

Insta-beauties employ some wild colour combinations but the most flattering ombrés are two of the same colour, 3-4 shades apart. 

Dior makes it simple with Rouge Gradient Lip Shadow Duo (above), €35.50, a double-tipped liquid lipstick pen with tonal light and deep shades. 

Their finish is powdery-matte.

Highlighter looks patchy on my skin. How can I get the look with spotlighting dryness?

If your makeup is patchy you should add a fragrance-free liquid exfoliant to your skincare regime. 

Try for Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Ageing 5% AHA Treatment, €38, for your dry skin, or Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel, €33, both at, if it is also sensitive and rosacea prone. 

Givenchy’s new limited edition highlighter.
Givenchy’s new limited edition highlighter.

Givenchy have altered their excellent hydrating Blush Memoire de Forme, €36.50, to create a gorgeous limited-edition highlighter. 

Givenchy Memoire de Forme Strobing Pop-Up Jelly Highlighter, €42.50, is the gel-blush in crystal pink. The lightweight formula is 72% water and blends almost instantly. 

Pink is a great for strobing porcelain or fair skin but warmer tones should stick to using it as luminous blush.

I have quite full lips and red lipstick (my favourite) just goes everywhere. Can I get a long-lasting look quickly?

Chanel’s new lip crayon.
Chanel’s new lip crayon.

Chanel has a very cute lip crayon collection out for spring. Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur, €35, comes in eight shades, including the gorgeous true red in the model shot. 

Each colour is densely-pigmented and radiant. The twist-up tip is very slim and, because it is too creamy to drag as you shade, facilitates fast and precise application. 

The formula is kiss-proof (so important in Paris) and very long-wearing.


I hate the baby hairs around my hairline!

I actually think these little flyaways are cute and, given the current vogue for embracing natural texture, not at all unsightly. 

If you really must tame them take care; they are fragile signs of new hair growth and don’t need ironing. 

My hairdresser catches them with a tail comb and very gently blow-dries them smooth. 

Sweeping a lightly hairsprayed toothbrush through them is a quick fix when hair is dry. Using serum or wax on such fine strands looks too greasy, in my experience.

How much and whom should I tip at the salon?

This is tricky, especially when you’ve been helped (shampooed, styled and blown-dry) by three or more different staff members, but handing 15-20% of the price to the receptionist while mentioning each one’s name is good etiquette.


Why do Korean women have ten steps in their skincare regimes and how few can I get away with? I love my skin but need to sleep!

I can’t help thinking the ongoing fascination with Koreans’ cosmetics, or “K-beauty,” is prompted more by industry excitement at their spending than Western consumer needs. 

South Korean women spend twice as much on skincare annually as their North American sisters, according to 2016 figures, and their men spend more per year than those of any other nationality. 

Reports of ten or even twelve-step regimes sound excessive because they are, not because we are somehow less conscientious. 

In any event, English-language accounts of said regimes, such as that by blogger Charlotte Cho, founder of the online store Sokoglam, show that they are not so much complicated as concentrated, with processes that we would stagger over a day or even a week applied in a single session.

Beyond the basic cleanse-tone-moisturise, a Korean might, of an evening, undertake a pre-cleanse (with water or makeup remover), and apply eye cream and serum. 

Ten-step regimes reportedly include both exfoliator and a sheet mask, which many of us would not use daily. There are two steps we know by different names. Ampoules are what a Western skincare junkie would call “boosters” — serums with especially high concentrations of active ingredients. 

These are typically expensive but it depends on the extracts. For example, an evening primrose capsule you puncture and add to moisturiser qualifies as a Vitamin E booster but pure Vitamins A and C are not so DIY (or budget) friendly and require sophisticated formulas. 

Secondly, a Korean’s “essence” is a watery serum meant to add an extra layer of hydration between your toner and actual serum. The tenth step is a night cream (over the moisturiser, serum, etc.), swapped for SPF in daytime.

The most valuable thing we can learn from Koreans about skincare, I think, is how early in life they learn of its importance, both at elementary school and in the home. 

Childhood lectures from a Korean mom are outlined in Cho’s The Little Book of Skincare: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin. Teaching kids about daily UV protection is, on an increasingly hot planet, especially vital. 

On a practical level, waiting until your late twenties to start worrying about your skin often means it needs reparation as well as maintenance. Prevention is better than cure.

As for how little you can get away with, a cleanser, antioxidant serum and sun protection are daily essentials, no matter what your skin type. 

A liquid exfoliant (alpha hydroxy acid for the dry or sun damaged, beta hydroxy acid for the oily or sensitive) should be used twice or thrice weekly. 

This may be a drag time-wise but it greatly clarifies your complexion and helps your other products work better. Dry skin is the only kind that needs an extra moisturiser.

Murad’s answer to dry skin.
Murad’s answer to dry skin.

Boosters are issue-specific and only really necessary if your regular serum is not solving the problem. 

A Vitamin C booster, for example, can help with pigmentation issues your regular antioxidant serum (which should also contain Vitamin C) is not improving. 

Masks are great for short-term plumping or pore-tightening but you do not need to use them daily. 

Essence is another element that’s optional. If you’d like to try one, I recommend Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion (be sure to choose the version targeted at your skin type), €45, or Murad Hydro-Dynamic Hydrating Essence, €75.


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