Tuesday 30 May 2017

The beauty panel: Back to reality

We all enjoy the pampering before a holiday, says our beauty expert, but don't let it all go to hell once you're home

Pictured, from left, Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate; L'Occitane Melting Honey Exfoliating Sugars; Decleor Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk; Matrix Biolage Sugar Shine Polishing Hair Scrub, and Lancome Energie de Vie Sleeping Mask
Pictured, from left, Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate; L'Occitane Melting Honey Exfoliating Sugars; Decleor Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk; Matrix Biolage Sugar Shine Polishing Hair Scrub, and Lancome Energie de Vie Sleeping Mask

Sarah Caden

The pre-holiday prep is easy. Everyone struggles to find the time to do it, and we all have to accept that perfection will not be achieved - or sometimes even desired - but it's all coloured with the glorious glow of good times ahead. Your prep might be flawed, half-baked and half-finished, but everyone looks better in the holiday sun, so you'll do.

Really, it's when you return home from holiday that you need the special care and attention. The post-holiday glow lasts about three days, or two days at work, and then it all gets a bit dull and ratty. You suddenly see the sun-damage marks on your face, while the skin on the rest of your body is suddenly dry, ashy and possibly even peeling. Your hair is dry and impossible to handle, and if you have colour-treated hair, then it may have altered in the sun and swimming pool. You need help; but you're not going to darken the door of a salon. The budget for that was blown pre-holiday, after all. Now that the fun is over, it's strictly at-home help that you need, and we have five favourite products that will offer urgent assistance from head to toe. Of course, we might add that they're the kind of products that work well pre-holiday, too.

Best overall

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate, €48, Arnotts; Kiehl's, 35 Wicklow St, D2, and Dundrum Town Centre, D16

Often, after a sun holiday, when even with the greatest of care, some rays will have had an effect on your complexion, and it can appear rough, coarse and uneven in tone and colour. This product, featuring, of all things, quinoa husks, is an every-night at-home alternative to a salon peel, with which we were mightily impressed. "Small dark spots and general smoothness were improved within a fortnight," said one panellist. "A grubby tone gave way to glow."

Best Body Blitz

L'Occitane Melting Honey Exfoliating Sugars, €26, L'Occitane shops nationwide

The benefits of exfoliation are to be seen all year round, but never more so than after a holiday. We know that it is counter-intuitive to say that scrubbing away skin will prolong your tan, but it will. Or, more accurately, it will reduce ashy, patchy dullness, which makes a tan look dry and dirty. "The creamy-sweet scent of this is amazing, and I love the sugar crystals which dissolve slowly under the shower," said a panellist. "My skin was left smooth, and I barely needed moisturiser after it."

Best Body Balm

Decleor Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk, €41, selected spas, salons and pharmacies nationwide

Most self-tan is too much effort for results that range from neon to piebald. The only time we can get behind it is straight after a holiday. Then, a gradual self-tanner will prolong your hint-of-a- tint, with the bonus of a much-needed moisture-boost for your skin. "To my shame, I had some peeling after being away," said a panellist. "This evened things out and it also lent a lovely softness to my skin."

Best Mane management

Matrix Biolage Sugar Shine Polishing Hair Scrub, €18.84, for salon stockists, see matrixhaircare.co.uk

Scrubbing is not just for skin, don't you know? Well, not any more, anyway. This hair scrub is part of a new sugar-based range that promises to get rid of dulling residue and leave hair with high shine and softness. This gritty pre-shampoo treatment exfoliates both your scalp and the lengths of your hair. At first, it feels weird to put scrub on your head, but it feels quite nice and massaging. "I came back from holiday with frazzled hair and a scalp that got a bit too much sun and was itchy as a result," a panellist said. "This set my head straight."

Best Night Nurse

Lancome Energie de Vie Sleeping Mask, €55, Lancome counters nationwide

We welcome the arrival this year of a slew of night masks, which take all the pain out of giving your skin an intense treatment. All that leaving-on and taking-off of face masks; we're over it. This is a great leave-on mask, which you can slather on before bed and forget about until you wake up to a refreshed face. It's all about maximum moisture, and that's what your face cries out for post-holiday. "The cooling gel seems to give way to a drink of water for the skin," one panellist said. "Delicious."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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