Sunday 25 September 2016

The beauty panel: The Last of Summer

The season's almost gone, if it was ever here at all, so we need some last bits of brightness

Sarah Caden

Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30

Pictured, from left, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Gelee Bronzer; Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector for Face SPF 50; Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick in Blush No 22; John Frieda 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment; Joico Flip Turn Volumising Finishing Spray
Pictured, from left, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Gelee Bronzer; Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector for Face SPF 50; Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick in Blush No 22; John Frieda 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment; Joico Flip Turn Volumising Finishing Spray

The uninitiated may imagine that summer is now over, but anyone properly acquainted with this country knows that we don't say die until September has been and gone. There's life in the unpredictable old dog yet and the summer - officially, it's meteorologically "below average" - could surprise us still. Or so we need to convince ourselves, before the evenings draw in and we resign ourselves to the far more predictable cold and dark.

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So, with never-say-die spirit, we present to you a selection of summer's new releases that either arrived or delighted us too late for use in other Panel features. In the bunch, there is a bit of optimistic sun protection, a bit of glow and gleam and a couple of hair products that really surprised us. All add up to a clutch of treats that will enhance any bit of holiday-acquired tan, perk up any staycation paleness, and bring a bit of bounce to your harried hair. The weather might let us down and laugh in the face of our optimistically summery appearance, but that doesn't mean that we should appear broken by its determination to be dreary. Summer's still with us, even if we're only faking it. However, hold off on the fake tan. That'll fool no one.

Best Overall

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Gelee Bronzer, €40, Estee Lauder counters nationwide

This has proved the perfect bronzer for the summer we have enjoyed/endured, due to the fact that it's a pale tan colour that looks entirely natural, whatever the weather. The texture is also key - a sheer and beautifully blendable cream that goes on easily with the fingers and doesn't need fancy brushwork to perfect. Also, it has great glow, so you get light bronze and highlight in one. "I have used this all summer long, at home and away, and it was a stunning complexion pick-me-up," said one panellist. They need to launch a winter replacement."

Best Fading Sun

Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector for Face SPF 50, €32, Kiehls, Wicklow St, D2; Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts

The 'activated' bit of this product's name refers to the fact that it is photo-stabilised, which might be an even more confusing term. Essentially, this means that the sun won't damage the protective ingredients and render them useless as quickly as it might in another product. This offers broad-spectrum protection, which means it protects against both the ageing and the burning rays. "This is not too greasy to use under make-up, which makes it a good daily product," one panellist said. "And no white tint, so you can wear it solo, too."

Best Cheery Cheeks

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick in Blush No 22, €39, Chanel counters nationwide

Going all-out on bronzer plus blush can look a bit clownlike. Less is more, particularly in summer. The Les Beiges line expanded this summer to include a tinted lip balm (€30.50) and three sheer cheek sticks, of which this pretty coral colour is one. Sheerly shimmery, they're like a blush-highlighter hybrid. "I got a subtle pinched-cheek effect from this stick," said a panellist, "but the dewy finish was the clincher."

Best Happy Hair

John Frieda 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment, €12.99, available nationwide

Short hair, long hair, fine hair or thick, all will benefit from giving this a go, as it basically recreates at home the lift and shine of a professional blow-dry. You put it on in the shower after shampoo and conditioner, wait a few minutes and rinse it out. And the effects last through about three washes. It really works. "They suggest you use their styling products for extra boost," a panellist said, "but I didn't need them, and didn't need to reuse the treatment until about five days later."

Best Spray Sensation

Joico Flip Turn Volumising Finishing Spray, €19.90, salons nationwide, for stockists, see xpertpro.ie

Rarely can one discern the difference between hairsprays, but this one is nicer than average. And before you say, 'It should be, at that price', bear in mind that the can is enormous. One feature is that you can tip the spray upside down instead of your head, in order to get root lift. But the product is also great, giving superior hold, touchability and endurance. "Not sticky, not hard, and easy to work with, even if you're clumsy like me," one panellist said.

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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