Ruth Griffin: The gadgets that ARE worth it
My guide to the top beauty gizmos, grooming tools and devices that give you real results.
● 1 Heated Rollers
The quickest, easiest way to get a big bouncy 'do at home, is to go old school and use heated rollers. Once you've perfected the technique of putting them in (the trick is to keep the ends of hair super neat, spray product on before applying rollers and curl hair in different directions) which shouldn't take more than 5 minutes, you leave the rollers in and are then free to move around and get other jobs done. No sitting in front of the mirror faffing about with curling tongs or wands for ages and ages - this is a much more practical way of doing a DIY curly 'do. Babyliss Ceramin Heated Rollers 3045U ¤43.50 from electrical outlets and pharmacies nationwide.
● Perfect for: Mums of little ones, who don't fancy having dangerously hot hair wands, curlers and tongs hanging around. Also women with zero patience for grooming and those who don't have time for lengthy hair salon appointments.
● 2 Electronic Facial Cleansing Brushes
The Clarisonic has created a huge buzz in the beauty industry over the last few years, with beauty buffs raving about its skin polishing benefits. But at a cost of up to ¤249 is it actually worth the investment? Yes, it works - though I would use mine sparingly and gently, twice a month at most. If, like me, you are only using it sporadically there are less expensive alternatives available. Try Formula Time Delay Radiant Cleansing Brush ¤30 from Marks & Spencer Beauty nationwide.
● TIP: Don't feel you have to use the branded cleansing washes that come with your cleansing brush - it's totally fine to use your normal favourite wash-off cleanser.
● 3 winged eyeliner stencil
If there's one make-up technique I just cannot master, even after a decade of modelling, it's the notoriously tricky winged liquid eyeliner look. Any attempt seems to end in a wonky-looking, rage-filled, raccoon-eyed disaster. I've discovered that stencils are the only solution (even though using the corner of a Post-It as a guide is quite handy, if a bit messy). The best I've used is the KISS Wing It Eyeliner Stencil Kit ¤8 (plus shipping) from amazon.com. Choose from a small flick, medium line or a mega-babe full cat look on the re-usable stencil. Simply place on the eye's edge, fill in and wait for it to dry fully, and you're Brigitte Bardot in less than a minute!
● Perfect for: Make-up mavens with shaky hands, zero patience and/or not a lot of time in their morning grooming schedule.
● 4 Make-Up Brush Book
If you've spent a small fortune on your make-up brushes, it makes no sense to then store them squashed somewhere at the bottom of your make-up bag. Keep your brushes clean, separated and streamlined with this handy little "brush book", which has two elasticated belt sections, and folds flat for easy transport and storage. Make Up Forever Brush Book, €50, from makeupforever.ie and outlets nationwide.
● Perfect for: Women keen to keep their brushes clean and organised, those with not a lot of storage space and professional make-up artists.
● 5 Reusable Microfibre Cleansing Mitt
Zero cleansing products are used with this microfibre facial cleansing mitt - yet, by simply adding warm water and gently wiping over face and neck, it removes, dirt, make-up and mascara. Perfect for pregnant women, if your skin is hypersensitive, or you just want to reduce the amount of product, chemicals and preservatives used on your skin. Just wash the mitt with soap and warm water after use and hang to dry. The Skin Nerd Cleanse Off Mitt Jennifer Rock, €5.95, from pharmacies nationwide and cleanseoffmitt.com.
● Perfect for: Pregnant women, men and women with hypersensitive skin, anyone recovering from illness and those looking to eliminate harsh chemical nasties from their skincare routine.
● 6 Eyelash Curler
Every professional make-up artist worth her salt will have a high-quality eyelash curler in her kit. Curlers will make a massive difference to your eyes and will give the illusion of fullness and length to your lashes without adding loads of mascara. The best curlers I've ever tried are Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers, ¤19.50, from strawberrynet.com. These are extremely hard to get your hands on - but absolutely worth it.
● Perfect for: Women who want to showcase their eyes, but are not fans of using (and removing) lots of mascara. Women who have sparse, short lashes.
● 7 Selfie Light
Every model, actress and selfie-taker will tell you the No 1 important factor in taking a good pic is excellent lighting. The best lighting is diffused and warm - ie from cream, almost yellow light as opposed to cold, blue lighting. To help with this, check out the Lumee Lighted Phone Case from €39.99. It has diffused, warm light all around the frame for the perfectly-lit selfie every time. From phone and computer accessory shops nationwide, and littlewoodsireland.ie
● Perfect for: The avid selfie-taker.
● 8 Electric Foot Exfoliator
With sandal-wearing season on its way, it's time to address our winter trotters that may not have seen a lot of TLC during those dark months. This handy little foot skin shaver is fully cordless, and can be used on wet or dry skin (very handy to use in the shower for less mess and clean-up afterwards) and leaves skin super soft. Remember to lash on a heavy-duty moisturiser afterwards. Scholl Pedi Velvet Smooth Wet and Dry Foot File, €69.99, from pharmacies, Boots, Littlewoods Ireland and electrical outlets nationwide.
● Perfect for: DIY beauty buffs; anyone who cannot stand other people touching their feet, or those who don't have the time for salon pedis.
● Perfect for: Anyone looking to deeply cleanse their skin without breaking the bank.
● TIP: If you take your brush hygiene super seriously, check out the Nima Brush Nets, which sit over the hairs on your brushes for ultra-hygienic make-up application. Priced ¤9.95 for a pack of seven from nimabrush.com.
Gadget Cheat VS Treat
Facial Massage Metal Rollers
For top treatments at home, steal one of the pros' most effective beauty tools - the Asian beauty-inspired facial rollers, or metal massagers. Roll gently over jawline, brow and cheekbones (trying to hit the acupuncture points) for excellent de-puffing and toning to the facial skin.
● Perfect for: This gadget is absolutely brilliant for lymphatic drainage, especially if like me, you suffer from eye puffiness and "lumping" on your cheekbones from water blockages.
Shiseido Facial Massage Roller
This platinum-coated, facial massager is the secret weapon for many facialists. From beautyline.com (Price excludes shipping costs)
Oils Of Life Twin Ball Facial Massager
A good alternative available from The Body Shop outlets nationwide
Mani/Pedi Disaster Fixer
If you're not the best at doing your own mani/pedi, I've found this nifty little disaster fixer. Draw the varnish remover pen over any mishaps for a neat finish. OPI Correcting Pen, €13, from littlewoodsireland.ie and Debenhams.
● Perfect for: Creating a salon-standard mani or pedi.
Mattifying Lip Top Coat
Double the amount of lipsticks in your kit with this clever formula. Apply over your usual lipsticks and watch as they turn matte. Smashbox's Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer, €22.50, from department stores and Boots.
● Perfect for: Streamlining your kit.
TIP: If your beauty and brush collection is like mine and growing to massive proportions, try to contain and streamline your make-up mountain with a good organiser. IKEA has some brilliant options with multiple drawers and compartments.