WORTH A SPLURGE
As the product many of us rely on to bring about visible anti-ageing benefits, this is the one I get asked about most often. Serums don’t always come cheap.
‘A high-grade antioxidant serum is one of the best investments you can make in your skin’s future and it’s worth paying more for a good quality one,’ says dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams (eudelo.com). ‘Good raw ingredients can be pricey, so a cheaper serum may not contain a concentration high enough to really deliver results. Some brands even include a low-concentration “dusting” of an ingredient, just so they can mention it on the label. Check online reviews to see what other users say about a product if you’re thinking of spending more – and never be seduced by glamorous packaging!’
OUR HERO ‘A favourite of mine is SkinCeuticals C E
Ferulic [€150 for 30ml, skinshop.ie],’ says Dr Williams. ‘Essential for maintaining healthy, beautiful skin, vitamin C can reduce collagen-degrading enzymes, regenerate vitamin E, stimulate collagen production and help protect skin from sun and pollution damage.’
A 2017 study published by statistics website Statista found that 31 per cent of women aged between 30 and 59 spend €28 or less on cleanser. Yet due to an increasing awareness of the damaging effects of pollution, as well as a trend for ‘double cleansing’ – when two cleansers are used to remove ‘oily dirt’ and ‘watery dirt’ – this could soon change.
People are often disappointed when I advise them to stop looking for that ‘miracle’ anti-ageing product and simply upgrade their cleanser. I would rather spend less on a basic moisturising cream, then put more towards a fantastic cleanser that’s not only effective but brings a pampering touch to the everyday business of removing make-up, general grime and pollution. OUR HERO Elemis Biotec Skin Energising Cleanser (€49.95 for 200ml, debenhams.ie) leaves my skin feeling clean and looking fresher. It even swipes away my eye make-up in seconds. Save money on make-up remover wipes by pairing it with a washable Makeup Revolution Pro Makeup Eraser Towel (€10.99, superdrug.com).
For years I saved money and cut corners by picking up any old shampoo and conditioner from my local pharmacy. Then my stylist informed me that many cheaper products simply coat the hair in silicones to give the appearance of shine rather than amplifying the true health of the hair inside and out.
I switched to Kérastase, spending around five times more on each product – adding a pre-shampoo, mask and leave-in serum to my routine – and have never looked back. By basing its products on technology that is as high performance as some skincare ranges, the brand offers solutions for all hair types and the results are transformative. One wash without mine and I notice a return to coarseness, tangles and a general dull appearance. OUR HERO Kérastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire Riche (€25.50 for 250ml, millies.ie) is a deeply nourishing shampoo that mimics the technology found in cleansing micellar waters for the skin. It’s the perfect remedy for dry wintered-out hair, protects against pollution damage and is definitely a worthwhile purchase.
I speak from personal experience when I say that finding the right foundation or BB cream – in terms of shade, dewiness versus shine control, staying power versus the tendency to ‘cake’ – is a lifetime’s work. Yet in recent years formulations have become increasingly sophisticated, with pigments that adapt ‘intuitively’ to a range of skin tones, as well as textures that suit our every need.
‘In terms of “skin make-up”, I gravitate towards more expensive brands,’ says make-up artist and founder of Votary skincare Arabella Preston (votary.co.uk). ‘High-street products have come on in leaps and bounds – for example, with the use of more yellow-base tones rather than pink – but I still find the formulas too drying and their scent synthetic.’ OUR HERO ‘My number one for both my skin and that of my clients is Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF30/PA+++ [€33, narscosmetics.com],’ says Arabella. ‘This delivers UV protection in a base that allows your skin to breathe and provides decent coverage. A little goes a long way, so for me it is well worth the price tag.’
The exclusive fragrance sector is growing faster than its mass-market equivalent, suggesting that when it comes to finding a new scent, we are willing to pay more. The question is whether we’re merely seduced by a designer price tag and extravagant packaging or whether the quality of the bottle’s contents reflects what we’re forking out for.
‘A truly great fragrance is a combination of manmade molecules and the finest natural ingredients,’ says Michael Donovan, founder of Roullier White perfumery. ‘While the latter are what give a scent its richness and intensity – like a painting with vivid colours – they are expensive. That said, there are less costly natural ingredients, such as citrus and lavender, which can be used to create a perfume of great quality for less money.’
OUR HERO Au Delà Narcisse by Bruno
Fazzolari (€110 for 30ml EDP, roullierwhite.com). ‘The rare and exquisite extraction of narcissus is clear and fresh, supported by heavy doses of highest quality absolutes of Egyptian jasmine and French orange flower,’ says Michael. ‘This is a timeless yet modern classic.’