Beauty panel: The Hit Parade
In the last Panel of 2015, our beauty expert looks back at what was best this year, and gets you ready to party
We're looking back at the beauty year this week, but we're aware that there are 11 days of 2015 still left to enjoy. In fact, to some minds, the very best bits of the year are yet to come, and they are the bits for which you want to look your best. With that in mind, we are getting in early in summing up 2015, thus allowing you to kit yourself out in its greatest hits in time for Christmas and New Year. It's a wonderful service, really.
Even though we aim to help you to sparkle through the season, only two of our choices are cosmetics. Interestingly, both are from Urban Decay, which has become a must-have brand, and both products will make a massive difference to your make-up bag.
Aside from that, our 2015 favourites are all about complexion restoration. This time of year is exactly when you need that, what with the weather, the stuffy shops, and what we like to euphemistically call the overindulgence. These skincare gems attempt to reverse the damage done, and none require any great effort or commitment. As in, there are no techniques or secret tricks; you just slather them on and let the magic happen. Little Christmas miracles, you might say, and our greatest 2015 hits.
Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate, €42.50, Kiehl's shops, Wicklow St, D2; Dundrum Town centre, D16; Arnotts
This is basically the morning companion-product to the brand's best-selling Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but the thought of making an oil a part of a daytime routine jarred somewhat. Using it was a happily surprising experience, though. With ginger root, safflower and tamanu oils, among others, it's a rich oil, but it sinks in remarkably quickly, even if you don't have dry skin. The smell and the softness it leaves are truly perkifying, and, yes, that's the only word for it. "A lifesaver after a late night when you look grey and dried-out the next day," said a panellist. "Yes, I mean hung-over."
Best Eye Wardrobe
Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette, €46, Debenhams; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
If you wear eyeshadow, you know about these palettes, of which Smoky is the fourth release and variation on an every-eyeshadow-you-need theme. The reason they are best-sellers is that they are fairly foolproof, as the shades complement each other beautifully and they also blend brilliantly. Honestly, you'd need to put them on in the dark to get it wrong. "Day, night, whatever," said one panellist. "I'd say these are what Kim Kardashian sleeps in."
Best Quick Fix
YSL Forever Youth Liberator Water-in-Oil Lightweight Nourishing Oil, €80, YSL counters nationwide
At first, we wondered what the point was of this, another oil product. After using it a few times, we saw a visible effect from it. As face oils go, the fact that it's miraculously an oil-in-water formulation means that it's very thin and nearly watery, so it sinks in very quickly and doesn't feel heavy under day cream. And the extra plumpness it bestows is impressive. "I was dubious, but on a day when you are grey-skinned, and weary-looking, a drop of this lends an extra dewiness to foundation," said a panellist. "It's a great skin reviver."
Best Eye Make-Over
Urban Decay Perversion travel-size mascara, €10, Debenhams; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
In one way, it's irrelevant that this is a travel-size. It's the same mascara as the full size, after all. There's something impressive, though, about how the big brush emerges from the tiny tube. The mascara is fabulous and does all you want for your lashes - longer, fuller, better curled. "The perfect handbag and hand-luggage mascara, with no compromise on quality for the sake of size," said a panellist.
Ren Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial, €40, selected pharmacies nationwide; Marks & Spencer
With lactic and fruit acids to eat away dead skin cells and a range of oils to nourish the skin, this product promises a facial while you sleep. You put on a thin layer, either solo or between your serum and night cream, and leave it on overnight. In the morning, your skin looks truly revived. And it doesn't matter if you didn't get a good night's sleep. "Fuss-free rejuvenation for your face. I love that there are no elaborate steps to follow," a panellist said.
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