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NAILS

Back in 2013, a funny thing hap­pened: the once av­er­age nail sec­tor sud­denly boomed. Nail art as a trend ex­ploded on so­cial me­dia and soon nail lac­quer was out­selling the ever-pop­u­lar lip­stick.

I’m as se­duced by the gor­geous­ness of a deluxe-brand bot­tle as the next girl. But af­ter years of test­ing nail pol­ishes from de­sign­ers right down to those from high-street phar­ma­cies, I’ve come to re­alise that – fancy bot­tle aside – ex­pen­sive doesn’t al­ways mean longer-last­ing in terms of colour choice and dura­bil­ity. OUR HERO Jeremy Scott’s S/S 18 run­way show proves that when it comes to nail shades, bub­ble-gum pink is back. May­belline Color Show pol­ish in Bub­b­li­cious not only ticks that box, but also comes in at a purse-friendly €4.49 (boots.ie).

EYES

With the likes of Kim Kar­dashian, Bey­oncé and Katy Perry sport­ing lux­u­ri­ant (often false) lashes, our de­sire to make our own longer, curlier and thicker us­ing mas­cara has also in­creased.

Pick a top brand and you could find your­self pay­ing around €25. Yet in terms of ease of ap­pli­ca­tion and budge-proof en­durance, I’ve al­ways pre­ferred some of the cheaper op­tions. OUR HERO

When women started rav­ing about Essence Lash Princess False

Ef­fect Mas­cara (€3.75, stock­ists na­tion­wide) on web-rat­ing site Red­dit, it soon went vi­ral. And if you want to chan­nel the spi­dery lash lengths seen at the Dior and Cush­nie et Ochs S/S 18 shows, I couldn’t agree with its fans more – plus the mas­cara is yours for a de­cid­edly un­princely sum.

LIPS

Ac­cord­ing to Min­tel, sales of colour cos­met­ics rose by around seven per cent in 2016, and as al­most half of all women wear lip­stick, lip prod­ucts played no small part in the rise. The pack­ag­ing, ap­pli­ca­tion and over­all pre­sen­ta­tion of an up­mar­ket brand are un­de­ni­ably se­duc­tive and worth the treat now and then, but we don’t have to al­ways shell out.

In my view, lip colours are made to come off: we use our lips to eat, drink and kiss. We buy dif­fer­ent shades to suit our mood or oc­ca­sion and fre­quently reap­ply through­out the day or even­ing. Hap­pily, in terms of colour range, pay­off, tex­ture and a va­ri­ety of fin­ishes, the high street punches well above its weight in this cat­e­gory. OUR HERO Creamy, com­fort­able and avail­able in fab­u­lous colours from nudes to state­ment shades, Top­shop Lips in Shoal, Fall­ing Fast,

Par­ti­tion and Board­room (€10 each, top­shop.com) are my go-to lip­sticks – and they cost a third of the price of some de­signer brands.

STYLING

The cat­walks and red car­pets of the world churn out elab­o­rate and pol­ished up-dos year af­ter year. But in my ex­pe­ri­ence, women mainly want ef­fi­cient styling prod­ucts that they can use on a daily ba­sis to gain a greater sense of con­trol over thick, frizzy, limp, dry or greasy hair.

I have to ad­mit that I am not one for blow-dry­ing, tong­ing or straight­en­ing my hair. So I de­ferred to the judg­ment of Sue Peart, the im­mac­u­lately groomed for­mer ed­i­tor of this very mag­a­zine. OUR HERO ‘I’m lucky to have very thick hair,’ says Sue, ‘but it needs a lot of help to keep it in place and stop it flop­ping down over my fore­head. I use hair­spray twice a day – be­fore I leave the house and again in the even­ing if I’m go­ing out. I’ve tried a num­ber of ex­pen­sive prod­ucts, but dis­cov­ered Boots own brand when I was at the air­port once and re­alised that I had noth­ing to con­trol my hol­i­day hair. I’ve never looked back. I’m not keen on the smell of hair­spray, so Boots Es­sen­tials Firm Hold Un­per­fumed [€1.99 for 450ml, boots.ie] is my hot tip.’

BODY

The mar­ket re­search ex­perts at Min­tel have dis­cov­ered that we spend less on body prod­ucts than we do on those for our face. Yet while shower gels and bath foams tend to be less ex­pen­sive, reach for a lux­ury-brand body prod­uct and you could find your­self pay­ing up­wards of €50. In my opin­ion, we don’t have to spend more to stay smooth-skinned and line-free from the neck down.

‘In terms of body prod­ucts, an ef­fec­tive ex­fo­lia­tor is my choice for smooth­ing the skin, rid­ding it of dry, scaly bits and im­prov­ing cir­cu­la­tion,’ says fa­cial ther­a­pist Abi­gail James (abi­gail­james.com), whose clients in­clude model Ari­zona Muse and well­be­ing god­dess Melissa Hem­s­ley. ‘The skin on the body can tol­er­ate a coarser tex­ture of prod­uct than the face, so often an el­e­ment of sugar or salt is enough to give an ad­e­quate and ef­fec­tive scrub­bing ac­tion. To get this, you needn’t splash out on any­thing too ex­pen­sive.’ OUR HERO Yes To Co­conut Pol­ish­ing

Body Scrub (€10.19 for 280g, hol­lan­dand­bar­rett.ie) sloughs away scales and leaves skin smooth again. Fin­ish with Nivea Rose & Ar­gan Oil Body Lo­tion (€6.99 for 400ml, su­per­drug.com).

€3.75

€6.99

€10.19

€1.99

€10

€4.49

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