Braidy Bunch: Triona's tricks to get fantastic hair
Want your hair to smell good, look good, and feel fantastic? Our own beauty buff Triona McCarthy shows you how with her weekly round-up of lotions and potions
If there's one hairstyle to rule all hairstyles, one that is as versatile as it is easy, it's the humble, timeless plait.
Seriously, I'm gone braid bonkers this summer, and not just because of the heat - though plaits are the coolest way to keep you unruffled and breezy in this balmy climate, which can have disastrous effects on our once-tamed tresses!
Side plaits are not only festival-friendly - think tent-zip disasters or unwanted mud baths - they are also so handy for mums like me on the go. They even pass the toddler tug-of-war test! Plaits are perfect for weekend hair as well. Hanging loose on one side, they lend a casual, yet really pretty boho daytime look, which can be glammed up at night with a nice pair of earrings, or even a few hair jewels, see my photo, above. To create a trendy crinkle effect, leave a plait in overnight and wake up to tousled tresses that are effortless and sexy. Just wash your hair beforehand with a smoothing shampoo like Kerastase Nutritive Bain Oleo-Relax Smoothing Shampoo, left, €18, and follow with the leave-in Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax Slim Smoothing Cream, below, €19. Then, the next morning, simply spray with Tigi Catwalk Camera Ready Shiner and Defrizzer, above right, €18, for a luminous shine that will help to protect your style from frizz, no matter the weather.
A great tip is to run your hair straightener over the finished plait - this really seals the waves and helps them to stay put.
Mascara is one of those beauty essentials that I just cannot live without. Can't do it. Ever. The problem is, each tube only has a lifespan of just two to three months before it becomes grungy and too risky to use on our precious peepers.
So, when mascara starts to poop, just pop some eye drops into it and mix to give it a whole new lease of life.
If there was a programme called When Bad Tans Happen to Good People, I could be the main star! Seriously, sometimes I come across photos of myself and wonder why I wasn't given a walk-on part with Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas. At least I would have got a few chocolate bars out of it. Anyway, I am now determined to put my tangerine-dream days to bed, so I am always on the look out for the best fakers out there. One of the biggest mistakes that tanners make is to assume that price means quality - true for leather bags, ladies, but not for fake tans, thank god! So when I tried the St Moriz range - most of the products are priced at €5 - I was delighted to find that this is one of the best budget tans around. No wonder it's the UK and Ireland's best-selling tan brand. It is a tantastic range of mousses, lotions and mists, suitable for all ages and skin types. The mousse, left, €4, gives me a natural-looking tan and goes on so easily that even a blotch culprit like me can achieve a guilt-free glow. Available from Penneys and pharmacies nationwide.
Good as Gold
Every now and then, a range comes along that every beauty editor and blogger I know is buzzing about like cray-cray whenever I see them at beauty events. Alpha-H is the breakthrough brand this year. Its powerful formulations are created using only a blend of the finest active ingredients, without any yucky unnecessary thickeners, fillers, fragrances or colours. Glycolic acid, which they use in their products, visibly improves inherent, genetic and environmentally-triggered skin conditions.
Their cult product, Liquid Gold, from €33, is a powerful resurfacing and firming treatment for diminishing wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage. It jump-starts the skin's metabolism, tightening enlarged pores for a brighter, clearer complexion.Beauty peeps have even dubbed this the "overnight facial"! See alpha-h.com
Desperate for a midweek pick-me-up last Wednesday, I came across the Alan Keville For Hair salon on Dublin's South Anne Street. Before I could say "gross split ends'', I was seated in a comfy chair, with Maxim, my little one-year-old, looking up at me, wondering why his mum looked as if she planned on never leaving!
Well, I did leave eventually, but not before my tresses were transformed and I looked a bit more like Rachel Weisz.. The award-winning team in Kevilles is second to none when it comes to all things gruaig, and the lovely Rebecca Fryday sat me down while talking me through my tired tangles. Rebecca is seriously clued-in. I loved being advised on my best options and she explained that it was high time I grew out my scraggy layers, while showing me all the latest celeb hair trends in some hair magazines. As I sipped on a decaff - being preggers, I have resorted to no-fun coffee - Maxim practised his new hobby of people-watching and waving out the window. I hope he grows out of that one quickly!
After a cut and colour, I had the Alfaparf Signature Blow-Dry for seriously shiny, soft, frizz-free manageable hair that lasts for four to eight weeks. I now love my hair again. Try out the salon's Keville Treats, where they offer different specials on different days. On Mondays, a full head of highlights is €85, instead of €100; Tuesdays, you can get a 12-week blow-dry for €95, instead of €150 . . . the list goes on. Alan Keville For Hair, 2 Sth Anne St, D2, tel: (01) 675-0022, or see kevilleshair.com
Mr Ford has done it again! I thought that he had conjured up every possible mix of majestic scents possible, but boy, does his brand-new aroma tickle my pickle! Velvet Orchid, left, €94, Brown Thomas, is a seductive blend of oriental spices, feminine florals and woody aromatics. The sensuous scent works wonderfully with evening wear for a night on the town. It's one of those perfumes that will make you feel really expensive, even if you have your €2 bargain-bin knickers on.