Tuesday 21 January 2020

The beauty panel: Easy does it to combat the mixed summer

Body and soul get weary as summer draws to an end, says our beauty expert, so give yourself a break

From left: Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion; Clarins Booster Detox; Rimmel Sun Shimmer Gradual Tan & Toning; Kiehl's Nurturing Oil for Mom & Baby; Image Skincare Iluma Intense Brightening Exfoliating Powder
From left: Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion; Clarins Booster Detox; Rimmel Sun Shimmer Gradual Tan & Toning; Kiehl's Nurturing Oil for Mom & Baby; Image Skincare Iluma Intense Brightening Exfoliating Powder

Sarah Caden

By this time, it's not so much that we're sick of summer - what we're sick of is the effort it involves. The colder, darker months make up the lion's share of the year - and, from a cold point of view, some of the summer, too - so we're somewhat more adept at dealing with them. Summer, though, requires more effort, even if it's not an exceptional one. In fact, an exceptional one is slightly easier to navigate than one that is hit and miss, like this summer.

When the summer is unpredictable and changeable, you have to reset your habits repeatedly. One minute, you're doing sunny days, the next, you're dealing with wind and rain. And that's all in a single, optimistic trip to the beach. Sure, we get the consistent week or two when we might get to go out foreign, but even that can feel like hard work when you've been dealing with March-like weather at home. Now, as September draws near, it's time to take it easier. Sure, the weather might yet improve for a spell, but can you really mobilise yourself to make ready for it? So, we have the quick-fix products that will help if you still have a shred of enthusiasm for the Indian summer, should it deign to appear.

Best Overall

Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion, €32, Boots

Despite summer best intentions, the holidays that we prep for can end up being slothful affairs, when even taking off make-up seems like an awful effort. Many of us come home from holiday with skin that needs a spring clean, so to speak, due to laziness and lots of layers of sun cream. This is an extremely mild non-foaming gel-cream cleanser. It wipes off easily with cotton wool and works equally well as a wash-off, leaving skin clean, but not squeaky. You don't want squeaky. "Inoffensive, in the best possible way," said a panellist. "It was kind to my overcooked holiday skin."

Best Skin Reviver

Clarins Booster Detox, €39, Clarins counters nationwide

Clarins released three of these "boosters" this year, which you add to your moisturiser to give it extra efficacy. Earlier this summer, we sang the praises of the Repair booster, which was a great holiday companion, and now its time to recommend this Detox, for skin that has been neglected or overdone in the sun. The green coffee is, apparently, the active ingredient, with its ability to soothe and calm. "If you hate faffing with layers and steps of skincare," said a panellist, "this is an easy way to boost your regime, and it certainly made my face less of a rhino hide."

Best Gold Rush

Rimmel Sun Shimmer Gradual Tan & Toning, €8.99, available nationwide

If you really need to keep the tan alive, then this is a good-value, reliable gradual tanner. The smell is not bad, the tan is subtly authentic, and it's a good skin-smoothing moisturiser, too. "You can't beat Sun Shimmer," said one panellist, "and this is one of their best new launches. I'll keep using it into autumn, and hold on to a tiny bit of summer."

Best Gentle Touch

Kiehl's Nurturing Oil for Mom & Baby, €20, Arnotts; Kiehl's shops, 35 Wicklow St, D2, and Dundrum Town Centre, D16

Its nutty smell is delicious, but its mildness is the selling point of this oil, which is designed for use by new mothers and small babies. The 'new mothers' bit hints at just how nourishing it is for weary skin, while the 'new babies' bit assures gentleness. With apricot kernel and olive fruit oils, it's intensively moisturising, but not heavy or artificially perfumed. "This settles fast to a dry finish," a panellist said, "but it quickly revived the tanned sheen on my dusty and dry-looking limbs."

Best Soft Scrub

Image Skincare Iluma Intense Brightening Exfoliating Powder, €39.50, salons nationwide, for stockists, see

If you like Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant, you'll like this. Shake the fine powder into your palm, add water to make a millky foam, and then cleanse gently with it. Suitable even for sensitive or sun-smarting skin, its exfoliating lactic-acid ingredients are gentle enough to use daily without irritation. "My dull, uneven skin was brighter within days," said one panellist. "Effortless exfoliation."

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