These hemp papers are great value: larger than is typical and packed in an 100-leaf book. Fragrance irritation can actually stimulate oily skin to produce even more sebum, so it is great that the fibers are unscented.
The sheets are highly absorbant and great for midday touch-ups. The book is also super-slim and easily pocketed.
MAC Blot Film, €16.50
I once saw these in a touch-up pack MAC provides for red-carpet clients and I can see why: they are soothing, highly absorbent and slim enough to conceal in the flattest of clutch bags.
It does not smear or remove makeup. The price makes them uncompetitive, I imagine, as there are so many decent budget options. These twenty sheets do come in an attractive compact.
Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector, €36
This is a translucent liquid rather than blotting paper but I include it because it is rich in absorbent ingredients and the finish is imperceptible. The pad is also ideal for touch-ups that do not mess with your makeup.
It can also be worn on bare skin and lessens the appearance of large pores. The formula is unfortunately quite fragranced.
NYX Professional Makeup Green Tea Blotting Paper, €7
These sheets are made of wood pulp and available in packs of 50. The paper is not especially absorbent and you will likely need more than one per application.
While the inclusion of acne and inflammation-reducing ingredients (salicylic acid, green tea and tea tree) is promising, distributing them through paper is nothing like as effective as applying serum or lotion.
Diorshow Pump N Volume Mascara, €35
The ‘pump’ of the name refers to Dior’s squeezy tube, which apparently deposits the ideal amount of product on the brush when pressed.
In practice I found the extra pump did not greatly impact the look and, as it is both expensive and very effective used as normal, recommend the regular pull-and-swipe.
Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Big Shot Mascara, €12.30
Big Shot is a rare disappointment in Maybelline’s mascara range. The bristles are uneven, cut into waves and unable to achieve a neat and comprehensive coat.
The volume the brand promises is noticeable but unimpressive, especially compared with that of champs like Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara.
Fairydrops Scandal Queen Quattro Mascara, €25 at www.ASOS.com
This mascara is by Japanese TV star Aya Yasuda, who reportedly grew envious of her Californian colleagues’ large eyes while covering baseball news in LA. Intent on fixing her own lashes in voluminous upward curls, she cut bristles into various styles and experimented with ingredients. Her signature is a curved wand with triple-tear shaped bristles.
Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara, €27, at Boots now and on counters nationwide from June 28
I like chunky-brushed mascaras, the definition is not always ideal but with the right formula you can get thicker, completely-coated lashes with a single sweep.
Lancôme does mascaras exceptionally well and while you may need a spoolie to separate shorter lashes, the volume you get with one coat makes it value for money.
Olay Eye Collection Firming Eye Serum, €32.99
I am leery of the word ‘firming’ on an eye treatment’s label. Skin continues to develop collagen throughout our lives but elastin is far harder to produce naturally in adulthood, no matter what you apply.
If you ignore the f-word, this is a perfectly decent antioxidant serum. It hydrates, works to repair UV damage and encourages natural collagen production.
Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Ageing Eye Cream, €36
Paula’s Choice is a mid-priced US brand I really rate, especially for sensitive types. This eye cream is one of their many fragrance-free products.
Avoiding scent is important generally (it is sensitising and has no skincare benefits) but especially so in this delicate area. Other plus points include peptides, plant fats and a range of potent antioxidants.
Lancôme Énergie de Vie The Illuminating & Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel, €39
It is lightweight and wears well under makeup. The formula contains some soothing antioxidants, the effects of which are undermined by sensitising alcohol and perfume.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream, €55
I am a Charlotte Tilbury fan, she and the great Pat McGrath are tied for ‘World’s #1 Makeup Artist’ in my book and simply watching her work is fascinating. Her brand is three years old and the makeup is full-on fabulous but I’m so far unmoved by the skincare.
This eye cream is jar-packaged, which isn’t ideal for keeping antioxidants stable. It contains lots of lovely emollients but the three most useful antioxidants (Vitamins A, C and E) feature in amounts too tiny to be effective.
The ‘rescue’ promise is somewhat kept by the highlighting of light-reflecting pigment (which isn’t skincare) and the plumping, protective effects of plant fats.