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Thursday 2 October 2014

After the Break: Products to help you get over the post-holiday pain

The post-holiday return to real life can be painful, says Sarah Caden, but help is at hand to make it that bit smoother

Published 10/08/2014 | 00:00

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The return home to real life after your summer holiday is always a shock to the system.

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You spent so long looking forward to that week or fortnight away and now, just as you were getting used to the rhythms of relaxation, it's over. And, the Irish summer being what it is, returning home might also mark the end of your love affair with the sun, too. So, we're all about being kind to yourself as you ease back into the grind and, potentially, the grey skies. And, if you happen to have brought home some sunburned and sorry skin with you, we also have products to ease your pain.

Even if you didn't get sunburned on holiday, the sun, sea and swimming pools will have taken their toll on your skin and hair. Odds are that your face, body and locks all need a bit of nourishment after the break, so crack out your hydrating and nourishing masks and also get scrubbing. The latter might seem counterintuitive, but the best way to keep tanned skin from looking grubby is to slough away the dead cells and keep the colour even. Sure, in time, the tan will disappear, but by then you'll have eased back into real life cleanly and painlessly, with a little help from these top-five products.

Best Overall

Lancome Hydra Intense, €39, Lancome counters nationwide

No matter how much you moisturised on holiday, if you were out in the sun, your skin is now dehydrated. The 
sure-fire sign of dehydration is fine lines on the surface of the skin, so if you look a decade older after your holiday, you're dehydrated. This gel-cream is designed for normal-combination skin, but, for 
its ability to refresh and rehydrate, we like it for any sun-exposed skin type. "A five-minute application worked wonders," said one panellist, "so, the next time, I left it on overnight. I looked fabulously dewy. I'd buy it again."

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Best Skin Smoother

Dr Hauschka Lavender Bath, €9.95, selected department stores, health stores and pharmacies nationwide

Lavender's calming effect on the mood is well known, but the essential oil also has skin-friendly antiseptic and healing properties. This makes any skincare containing lavender essential oil a great go-to after a holiday, and this lavender-rich, non-foaming bath product is a salve for mind and body. "This is a lovely night-time wind-down, and it felt gentle on my skin, which was more sensitive than usual," a panellist said. "And the travel-size is not a big commitment, as I don't do baths all the time."

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Best Luxury for Locks

Kiehl's Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pak, €29.50, Kiehl's store, 35 Wicklow St, D2; Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts

Coloured hair, in particular, gets no rest on a sun holiday. The heat and sun will dry out your hair, making the hair shaft rough, and rendering the colour dull, while chlorine and other chemicals 
play havoc with colour, too. This sulphate-free mask, which is rich in apricot-kernel oil, will smooth, soften and re-establish lustre in frazzled hair. "This has a slightly holiday-ish smell, which made it extra soothing, in my book," said a panellist. "I used it every second day for a week, post-holiday, and my hair and colour were well revived."

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Best Nicer Nails

YSL La Laque Couture in Violine Surrealiste, €24, YSL counters nationwide

The pre-holiday pedicure is the last remaining Celtic Tiger self-indulgence for some people, but that doesn't mean you have to keep looking at your 
sand-scuffed colour long after the holiday is over. In fact, a fresh colour could be just what you need to make your tan look all shiny and new back home. "I love the on-trend, zingy purple, the foolproof wide brush, and the 
super-shininess," one panellist said. "It goes superbly with a tan, too."

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Best Scrubber

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Gentle Body Exfoliant, €65, Chanel counters nationwide

Sure, a scrub should be part of your post-holiday skincare regime, but plumping for this particular scrub is also a way of giving yourself a major treat. You can justify it to yourself as a necessary aid to getting back to work. Sufficiently scented with Coco Mademoiselle that the smell lingers long after the scrub rinses away, this is also an effective exfoliant that will help your tan to last longer. "Two of my favourite things," said a panellist. "Coco Mademoiselle and a creamy scrub. Christmas comes early."

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