IN THE ROUGH
If the mirror tells you the summer has left you looking jaded, says Sarah Caden, we can smooth things out for you
Looking rough? It’s funny how we all have this idea that summer makes us look better and then, when September rolls around, we suddenly look in the mirror and realise that we look all rough. It’s not just a general rough; it’s specific. It’s the rough that comes with being a bit lax and letting the skincare routine slip while on holidays, or having weekends away, or just being lazy. Then, there’s the rough that comes from too much sun. At this time of year, there’s a strong chance that a bit rough is accompanied by pesky little sun-damage spots, too.
Well, as luck would have it, we have five products this week to get you through the rough. Going at your face with a scrub full of kernels is a thing of the past, and forget the products with little microbeads of scrubbiness, too, as those tiny plastic balls are ruining the oceans. These days, glycolic, lactic and fruit acids are all your friends when it comes to smoothing the skin’s surface. These are gentle acids that nibble away imperceptibly at dead skin cells, exposing new cells that are ready and waiting to be plumped up with moisture from whatever serum or unguent you’re having yourself. It’s not tough, you see, to get rid of the rough.
BEST OVERALL Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser, €35, selected salons nationwide, or see renaissance-skincare.com
We can’t say enough good things about this cleanser. It’s a rinse-off affair that you can use in the shower, with a skin-smoothing vitamin-C content that is kept stable by the opaque packaging and the pump action. The vitamin C helps with pigmentation, while the cleanser’s creaminess lends moisture, so it’s ideally suited to everyday use. “If you still hanker after a squeaky-clean feeling, even though you know it’s wrong, this is as close as you’ll get to it, without any tightness or irritation,” a panellist said.
BEST EYE RELIEF Nuxe Splendieuse Anti-Dark Spot Anti-Dark Circle Eye Contour Cream, €30, selected pharmacies nationwide
A lightly creamy eye product, this promises a pick-me-up for the area that is often the first to show dark spots and dehydration lines. It has vitamin C to work on pigmentation, and peptides, which claim to promote collagen production. It also has the bonus of light-reflecting particles to create the illusion of a youthful glow. “My skin had a springiness that had been lamentably absent,” said one panellist. “This is a nice cream that actually has an effect.”
BEST BODY BALANCE No7 Intensive Radiance Body Scrub, €20, Boots nationwide
We know that a lot of you are nonscrubbers because you don’t want to rub away any bit of tan you’ve acquired. That said, though, isn’t the tan looking a little piebald by now? Well, it’s not going to get any better, and if you want it to continue looking even and smooth, you need to scrub. This is a thick paste with plenty of scrubby elements — but no microbeads — to slough away dead skin. “A little goes a long way,” said one panellist. “My body lotion worked better, my skin looked smoother and was less itchy.”
BEST SLEEP WELL Ren Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial, €40, Marks and Spencer beauty halls; selected pharmacies nationwide, or see cloud10beauty.com
Once, face masks were muddy affairs that dried to a hard crust and took a chisel to remove. Latterly, the trend is for ease of use and, in particular, masks that work while you sleep. This is one of the best of that kind, and it has AHA and glycolic acids to nibble away dead skin, and sodium lactate to replenish hydration — the promise is smoother, plumped-out skin. “I got the promised refreshed look,” said a panellist. “And what a doddle this is to use.”
BEST PERFECT PEEL Skinician Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel, €31.50, selected salons nationwide, or see skinician.com
In terms of how this works, it’s not dissimilar to the Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, though it’s less thick and jam-like to apply, which might swing it for some people. It works in much the same way, though, with alpha-hydroxy acids and fruit acids that rid the skin of rough, dead skin cells, without the need for scrubbing. “Smoother skin and a more even tone: this peel is just what the doctor ordered,” said one panellist.
Pictured, from left, Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser; Nuxe Splendieuse Anti-Dark Spot Anti-Dark Circle Eye Contour Cream; No7 Intensive Radiance Body Scrub; Ren Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial; Skinician Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel