The Beauty Panel: Look of Love
There's still time to make a Valentine's fuss, says our expert, with these last-minute luxuries for your loved one
Ah, the season of giving. Yes, another one. Already. That came up quickly after Christmas, didn't it? It's Valentine's Day, another festival of frivolity to distract us from the dreary months of winter. Or that's a relatively positive spin, anyway. You might say that it's a cynical exercise in making us shell out more money for stuff we don't need. Or you might even say that you prove your affection for your loved one all the time, and you don't need a manufactured day of celebration to show it.
If it's the latter, you might well be one of those people who have purchased nothing for today. No flowers, no fragrance, not even a card or a bar of soap. And your loved one, even if they say they don't care for Valentine's Day, might well be looking at you askance.
It's not too late. And it needn't be too expensive; unless you want or need it to be. Thought and care are key characteristics of any Valentine's Day gift, and our selection has something for everyone; from the big gesture to the smaller token. And there's even something for him. Because he has feelings too, and may also have found the six-week lull in gift-giving hard going.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Fragrance Touch-Up, €80, Chanel counters nationwide
If you want both luxury and practicality, this limited-edition fragrance top-up is a joy. From its blush-white suedette case, through the lipstick-inspired packaging, to the lip-gloss-like applicator, this is a high-end indulgence to delight. The fragrance is a gel that you dab on; a no-mess way to carry around the scent that is Chanel's number two to their number one, No 5. If she's a Coco Mademoiselle fan already, she'll love this new way to wear it. "Oh, what a lovely little thing to have in your handbag," said a panellist. "If I wasn't already a wearer, I'd convert."
Best Floral Face
Erborian Dongbaek Camellia Essence Lipid Rich Face Serum, €59, Space NK, Dundrum Town Centre, D16 and Grafton St, D2
This French-Korean skincare line has some lovely items in it. Korean women use up to 12 different products on their faces, morning and night, but you don't have to go the whole hog. The BB and CC creams from the brand are brilliant, but so is this serum. The floral beauty of this makes it a pretty Valentine's gift, and it's exceptionally nourishing to winter-ravaged skin. It is composed of 73pc camellia oil, a recognised antioxidant. "This smells wonderfully rich and it goes on like silk," said one panellist.
Best Beauty Balm
Roger&Gallet Precious Replenishing Balm in Fleur de Figuier, €23, selected pharmacies nationwide
Pretty packaging, with lovely stuff inside. These new-launch body balms come in three fragrances, and we love the subtle sweet-savoury scent of this one. Composed of five different nourishing oils, including sweet almond and apricot, it also includes hyaluronic acid, which is more commonly found in facial skincare. This acid 'grabs' moisture from the air and holds it in the skin, making it plumper and softened. "Sweet and softening," said one panellist. "And the tin is a treat."
Best Pretty Pout
Tom Ford Lip Color in First Time, €48, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork
A lipstick is an intimate gift. You only buy one for someone you know well. And you don't take offence if they need to swap it. With a lipstick such as this, the shade name has Valentine's value, but the colour is quite difficult to wear. It's pale, but it's very pretty. The latter makes it worth a try. "These lipsticks are unbeatably luxurious," said one panellist. "A treat of a love-gift, because you'd feel guilty buying it for yourself."
Best For Him
Jo Malone London Cologne Intense Orris & Sandalwood, €130, Brown Thomas
As with all Jo Malone fragrances, this is officially unisex, but we think it's definitely more in the male order of things. Orris is the root of the iris, but here it's more about the woodiness of that ingredient, than the floweriness. Then, the sandalwood has a warm richness that layers up to a dark, spicy and earthy scent. "This is a sexy fragrance," said a panellist. "Not too butch, but no wimp, either. He'd be flattered to get it."
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