The windows to your soul, they're called, and your eyes are one of the first things people notice about you. So it's no real surprise that we're pretty much obsessed with them.
Whether it's panic over dark circles, despair over puffiness or the holy-grail quest for the one true mascara, Irish women spend an inordinate amount of time buying, trying and discarding products for their peepers. Want to know what's new and fab for eyes? Go on, of course you do. Here are 10 products to lighten, brighten, tighten -- and just about everything else.
1 Rediscover glitter
Due to age, I made a vow to abandon glitter recently and I kept that vow for, oh, about a month. Then it was Christmas and, sure you know how it is, spangles to the forehead seemed completely appropriate once more. But sequined shadows are very hard to pull off over the age of about 25, especially when they migrate down your cheeks after about 10 minutes. So that's why Urban Decay is launching a new set of Studio 54- inspired shadows with fancy new technology to keep the sparkle on lids where it belongs. Nine new shades will make up the Stardust collection, €19 each. Look for them at stockists such as the Arnotts Project from March.
2 The dream cream
With actual ingredients that aim to fix the problem of dark under-eye circles (as opposed to merely masking them with pigment) Origins GinZing Refreshing eye cream to brighten and de-puff, €31, uses magnolia to help repair leaky blood vessels, the cause of darkness beneath the eyes. It also contains silica and mica to help reflect light and mask the problem too, for a double-whammy effect. At Arnotts, Clerys and House of Fraser, Dundrum.
3 Stick 'em up
I love Japanese sheet masques; those infused pieces of fabric are a great way to get nutrients into your skin. In fact, I pretty much like any sort of doo-hickey I have to peel off and slap on. So I was, of course, pulled towards Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye anti-puffiness smoothing eye patches, €94.61 (for six). Cooling and packed full of hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and a desert rose complex, they soothe stressed eyes, reduce puffy bags and refresh the whole area in about 10 minutes.
Look for them at Arnotts, Debenhams and House of Fraser from February 27.
4 The DIY cream liner
One of the best things about make-up is the creativity involved; there's no need to stick to rules. I pretty much do what I like to create a look that's good for me, my personality and my style. So that was why, when Shu Uemura launched its gorgeous Painting Liner collection last year, I groaned because the brand can't be got in Ireland but then I didn't get mad, I got even. I particularly fancied the baby-blue shade, so I whipped out my Too Faced Shadow Insurance, €17, and a pot of Barry M Dazzle Dust in Block Blue, €6.95, and I got busy mixing primer with pigment. The result was a dream cream that was a cinch to apply with a liner brush. Inspired, I've been making my own mixes ever since.
5 The brightening pick-me-up
Bobbi Brown's recent make-up facelift collection focused on products for peepers -- after all, if your eyes droop, it automatically makes you look older, and nobody wants that. Helping to cosmetically reverse time is the new Tinted Eye Brightener, €30, available in eight shades. For use beneath the eye, it instantly hides dark circles and gives you a fresher face. At Brown Thomas and House of Fraser.
6 The lash lengthener
Trish McEvoy's Lash Enhancer Nighttime Conditioning Treatment, €133.50 won't land until mid-March and that's just as well because you're going to have to save up for this one. At Brown Thomas and Harvey Nichols, Dundrum. Paint it on before you catch your zeds and the brand says it'll condition and strengthen lashes, helping them to grow longer and stronger. Psst: you can use it on brows too.
7 The eyeshadow primer
You'll have read about these yokes left, right and centre, and good ones are a terrific addition to your make-up bag, adding extra intensity to disappointing eyeshadow shades and sticking glitter and shine firmly in place on lids where they belong. Primers can be pricey, though, but, thankfully, that's not a problem with Mavala Eye Base, €6.99, and you'll find it at pharmacies.
8 The fool-proof mascara
It might look slightly bonkers but trust me, this is one of the best mascaras you will try this year. Yes, I know it's only February. Clinique is up there in the mascara stakes and its new High Lengths wand, €19, is the bomb. A green, banana-shaped head applies the product evenly with no clumps. While this isn't a particularly volumising formula, it separates, curls and lengthens lashes nicely for a wide-eyed effect that's very flattering. Find it at department stores now.
9 Just browsing
While there's no doubt that you'll get that uber-professional finish with a decent brow powder, wax can be great for setting and shaping unruly brows, too. I am loving Clinique Instant Lift for Eyes, €17. Dual-ended, it comes in three shades and Deep Brown is the one for me. A twist-up wax pencil that needs no irritating sharpening, it fills in sparse areas and gives a great shape -- all in about two seconds flat, making it a high-performance choice for anyone in a hurry. The other end houses a shimmery highlighter you can use beneath the brow.
10 The best brow shape
Threading isn't a new beauty treatment but in recent years it has gained in popularity. What is new is Elysian Brows on Dublin's Dawson Street. This bijoux pamper palace really is a city gem. Owner Libby Ryan overhauled my stragglers, gently giving out to me as she worked over my over-plucked brows. An excellent shape with advice and consultation costs €25, with a brow tidy coming in at €15. Elysian Brows, 21 Dawson St, D 2, 01 678 8260; www.elysianbrows.ie