It's never New Year as far as I'm concerned until my inbox is groaning under the weight of brands bigging up their latest, greatest product launches for the next 12 months.
New season goodies tend to land on my lap a fair while ahead of release in a lot of cases, so I've been compiling a list of the ones that sent shivers of excitement down my spine as I tested, swatched and sniffed, scrolled through press releases and read all that science guff that's so important to cosmetic companies.
This year will, no doubt, bring its share of turkeys and triumphs, and even though it's only January 13, I've already got the gold stars out for 10 products you need to know about in 2010.
1 Jeepers Peepers
Irish women love Benefit, and I mean love: outside of Britain, Ireland is the brand's strongest European marketplace. While it has a few things incoming in the first quarter, it's Benefit Stay Don't Stray, €27, being launched in March, that's my pick of the bunch. The brand is particularly good at little bits and bobs for concealing and priming and I already swear by my pot of Erase Paste, so I'm looking forward to this, too. Dot it in a 360 degree motion around the eyes and blend for a finish that ensures concealer and eyeshadow stay put all day.
2 Nailing it
Johnny Depp continues his penchant for quirky, off-the-wall characters with his role as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's forthcoming Alice in Wonderland film, due to land in March. Pre-release shots of the cast, complete with equally off-the-wall hair, make-up and costumes, have sent the beauty-sphere wild and companies have been falling over themselves to create products in homage. Urban Decay will launch a pop-up eye shadow palette in March, but first to the table were lacquer brand Opi, whose Alice in Wonderland collection debuts at the end of this month. Four full-sized polishes will be available as well as a mini-kit containing dinky versions of each. My pick? The glittery petrol blue Absolutely Alice, €15 is the one for me. Available at salons.
3 Cream of the Crop
Here's the thing: Guerlain skincare is ouch-inducingly expensive. But here's the other thing: it's amazing too. Out now is Orchidée Impériale New Generation, and it's going to set you back €350. For the price you get one of the most beautiful and weighty pots I've ever handled, and the benefits of lots of scientific research, too. Designed to stimulate and promote cell-longevity, give it a month and you'll see a difference, says the brand. At House of Fraser, Dundrum and Arnotts.
4 Good Foundations
Origins make a welcome return to make-up with the March launch of its Youthtopia SPF15 Skin Firming Foundation with Rhodiola, €27. The brand slashed its cosmetics offerings a couple of years ago, disappointing fans who liked the nature-meets-science approach that marks the company out. The new foundation has skincare benefits as well as foundation coverage, looks and feels good on the skin and is bound to be a sure-fire hit with anyone who likes their products multi-tasking. At Arnotts, Clerys, House of Fraser, Dundrum and Boots Liffey Valley.
5 Kiss Off
I was lucky enough to jet to Paris for a pre-Christmas soiree to celebrate the forthcoming launch of Lancôme's Spring/Summer collection, Ô My Rose. Developed by their latest make-up artist, cult fave Aaron de Mey, the line is different from many of the other seasonal collections I've seen. De Mey's interest in Japanese culture led him to create BB Kiss, €25.50, a truly innovative little gem that takes inspiration from Geisha make-up. A bit like a pastel crayon, you can use it on face, lips and eyes, achieving differing intensities when used wet or dry. The coral hue is a bit too warm for my cool skintone, but will suit those with sallow and dark complexions down to the ground. Us pale-but-interesting types may have some good news later on in the year with regards to additional shades. Find it on beauty counters from Friday.
6 Light of my Life
Hold on to your hats Orgasm-loving ladies, because NARS are rolling out a new incarnation of their mega-best-selling blush in February. Orgasm Illuminator, £21 (€26) will only sell in Space NK branches in Britain, so Irish gals will have to mail-order. The light fluid contains flecks of gold, peach and pink shimmer to diffuse light and add luminosity to skin. Yum! www.spacenk.co.uk
7 Lash Back
I rate three mascara-maestros and they are Lancôme, Chanel and Clinique. It's unusual that the latter, a company with such a strong skincare bent, should be so good at lash flatterers, but the proof is in the pudding. Swooping on to counters in February is Clinique's High Lengths Mascara, €19. It's superb: the magic bendy wand contains teeny tines that apply the mascara-gunk perfectly. Two coats are really all you need for lovely lengthened, curvy lashes and as the brush is so well designed, there's no irritating back-splash on to eyelids -- a pet hate of mine. This is a must-have for anyone who has yet to find their holy grail mascara.
Jean-Charles Brosseau's zesty, citrusy Bergamote was one of my favourite fragrances of 2009, so the news that there's a new scent incoming by the name of Fleurs d'Ombre Rose Edition d'Exception, €95, has definitely tickled my olfactory glands. The beautiful bottle that contains a blend of grapefruit, bergamot, rose, orris and vetiver is ticks all my boxes. You'll find it at Arnotts now.
9 Pump up the Volume
Sebastian is the haircare brand the terminally cool know all about, and their products are used at fashion weeks the globe over. After a few years out of the spotlight, the brand revitalised itself last year to much fanfare and recent launches have impressed all over the shop. Coming in April is the Volupt line of care and styling products. Promising to deliver "serious volume and shine, combined with softness," I'm looking forward to giving Volupt Shampoo, €19.50 and conditioner, €22.70 a whirl. Find Sebastian at Zoo, Exchequer Street.
10 Appliance of Science
It's made serious waves within the beauty community in the US and now that Perricone MD's Cold Plasma, €150, is confirmed to launch at Harvey Nichols, Dundrum, at the end of January, I expect a similar reaction here. Dr Perricone is a bit of a genius when it comes to the whole anti-ageing malarkey and the stars love him: Uma Thurman, Heidi Klum and Hilary Swank are all said to be fans. Cold Plasma was five years in the making and contains swanky new science: an ionic-suspension carrier system takes charged particles and holds them in suspension, allowing the treatment to penetrate the cell membrane.