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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).
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.
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.
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.’
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).