Hands up who has been watching Sex/Life on Netflix lately? I am obsessed — and not just because it’s a little bit naughty (it’s basically soft porn, isn’t it?). I also love it because it’s breaking down our prudishness about sex. That’s Catholic Ireland for you. Sex is good for us, both physically and mentally, and it’s high time we embrace and talk about its many benefits.
‘Gals, do you think lip filler can ever really look natural?’ My friends and I have been talking about filler a lot in the WhatsApp group of late. Who has it; whose looks good; whose is probably too much (people on TV usually). We’re having the kind of conversations women in their late thirties, who would quite like some lip filler but kind of need someone else to give them permission to do it, have.
When Tyra Banks coined the term ‘smize’ — smiling with your eyes — back in 2009, she couldn’t have guessed that in 2021 it would be more relevant than ever. With all of this mask wearing and video calling, the eyes have never had to work so hard. Seeing as masks are set to remain the norm for the foreseeable future, it’s time we all mastered the smize. Lately, when it has come to personal interactions, our eyes have had to carry a lot of emotional weight. We may be flashing our best smiles underneath our masks but that’s no good unless we have the correct eye contact to match. Anyone who watched this year’s Love Island will know the gals put a lot of emphasis on the importance of eye contact when it came to the guys for whom they stepped forward. But this is often an area where many of us can feel anxious. Direct eye contact can sometimes seem intimidating, so what should we do when we find ourselves feeling a little shy? Well, one way is to make sure we absolutely love our make-up. Believe me, it will make it impossible for people to resist making eye contact with you. And you’ll be all the more confident giving it back, too.
No matter how good your skin is, or how high your self-esteem, from time to time something will appear on your face that you wish wasn’t there. Whether it’s a bag under your eye or a massive spot on your chin, you’ll probably find yourself turning to makeup with unbridled enthusiasm. Makeup can be an incredible vehicle of self-expression and creativity, but it can also help you feel good about your face on days when you’re struggling a little.
Right, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions — don’t panic, you haven’t picked up an absolutely ancient edition of Life magazine, or fallen asleep for a few months. I know it might feel a little early, but with the children getting ready to go back to school or back already, and the weather changing, a shift in our habits and daily routines is inevitable. To be honest, I hate resolutions as I feel like they set us up for disappointment. It’s ludicrous to beat ourselves up in January if we don’t manage to keep something up for more than a week. January should be a month of self-care and acceptance, seeing as it’s cold and dark enough outdoors. So, I say forget about New Year’s resolutions. We should re-evaluate and change up our routines at least every season. That’s four chances to hit the restart button, folks, and that is how I like to roll — it is less pressure on ourselves and has the added bonus of keeping things interesting. I really do believe that any new habits and routines can be maintained if we’re realistic and kind to ourselves. And if they don’t work out, who really cares? As Sheryl Crow would say, a change will do you good. Come on... sing it with me, I think a change, a change, can do you good!
I’ve never really been a ‘hop straight on a trend’ kind of gal. I’m more of an ‘initially think something is awful, and then slowly decide to dip my toes in just as the trend dies’ kind of gal. This was true for those wedge-heeled Isabel Marant-style runners a decade ago and it’s true for false freckles today. If you follow beauty trends, you’ll be aware that people have been painting freckles on their faces for a couple of years now. If you don’t follow beauty trends, this may come as a shock to you. Yes, freckles are in. In a big way.
I don’t have a dog. I am, however, thanks to the frankly ludicrous dog situation in my family, adjacent to seven. The situation wasn’t always ludicrous; in fact, there used to be just one family dog, a gorgeous golden Labrador named Max (RIP). But then my sister came of age and everything changed. My sister is one of a kind, a force to be reckoned with. “No” is not an answer she will ever accept, which means she is very successful in her career, but was a somewhat challenging individual for my parents to raise.
The first time I tried false tan I was 14. It was 1996, and I was an Irish girl living in the suburbs of Chicago, surrounded by bronzed beauties. I desperately wanted to be like everyone else, so a bottle was purchased and applied. It wasn’t for me. The hue was significantly more orange than bronze, and the smell (digestive biscuits/wet cardboard) was too much for this delicate flower. Since then, I’ve largely avoided it, aside from a twice decade experiment to see if I’d changed my mind, only to find I hadn’t.
Over the last 16 months, many of us have found ourselves doing things we had previously paid professionals to do. This is particularly true when it comes to beauty treatments. Partners brought out an electric razor and prayed that the haircut they were about to attempt didn’t spell the end of their relationship.
Allergic to the gym? What if I told you that there are many activities we can do that will give us the same feel-good endorphin kick without setting foot in one? Hear me out.
The other day as I was getting ready to go out, my eyes fell upon my black liquid liner languishing in the corner of my makeup drawer, lonely and neglected. I couldn’t remember the last time I used it. Life in the time of the pandemic had not required such things as black liquid eyeliner. Recently, it’s been too hot for liquid liner. Life was sweaty enough in masks before a heatwave came along, throw in 23-degree weather and makeup feels like a somewhat futile exercise.
Sustainability has become such a buzzword lately, but what does it really mean to be sustainable? If you take it at face value, the word ‘sustain’ means to keep something going without using it all up. This is important when it comes to the beauty industry. From water use to packaging and ingredients, the manufacturing and selling of beauty products can potentially consume vast amounts of resources.
My husband recently asked me how much I thought the collection of skincare products I have in our bathroom is worth. As a lifelong beauty-product obsessive, I buy lots of things because I want to try them, and as part of this job I also get sent things to try. It took me a while to work out the answer to my husband’s question. It was well into the thousands.
Recently, I had my first experience of the bizarre behaviour of a certain element online. A video I made went mini-viral, and while the response was largely positive, some people didn’t like it. Most of them fairly critiqued and debated what I said in the comments, but others were a little less reasonable. Shortly after that post, comments began to appear on another post of mine. They appeared in bursts of four or five, over the course of a week or so, and they were all about my eyebrows.
I must admit, I rolled my eyes when I read the news that Scarlett Johansson was launching a beauty line. Another one, I thought. There have been a lot of celebrity beauty launches of late. I’m not against them in principle, but I’m bored of seeing big names who’ve never expressed any real interest in makeup or skincare suddenly talking about their passion for the area.
‘You can’t wait until life isn’t hard any more, before you decide to be happy.” Nightbirde, aka Jane Marczewski, the breakout star of this year’s America’s Got Talent, said this when discussing her song It’s Okay, about her cancer journey — she’s had it three times and she’s only 30. Her positivity reminded me how sometimes we need to hear something like this to be grateful for what we have. July always makes me feel happy — the kids are off school, the weather is hot and it’s my birthday month — but it’s a little bittersweet as it’s also my father’s anniversary. Today, actually, is his 20th anniversary. But, “It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok/If you’re lost/We’re all a little lost and it’s alright/Oh, it’s alright to be lost sometimes”. I find the sentiment behind these lyrics really reassuring; it makes me feel as if I’m not alone, which helps me to stay focused on positive things. And two great things spring to mind right now. My sister Laura gave birth to her son, Archie, just a few weeks ago and my youngest sister, Anna, is expecting her first in November! As I think of my sisters and their new arrivals, all I’m reminded of is how I can always see Dad in each new niece or nephew that joins our family. This makes me feel excited and a little less lost, which is more than OK.
Recently, a TikTok made me rethink something. That’s been happening a lot actually. I downloaded the app at the start of the pandemic and it has been a true companion throughout. It’s influenced what I cook, the hairstyles I choose, fashion choices and, yes, the way I think about various issues. This particular TikTok was from a black content creator begging us to stop calling pale-coloured lipsticks ‘nude’. Because they’re not actually nude for a lot of people, and it really wouldn’t be hard to call them what they are — soft pink, peach and beige tones.
With a summer season of the great outdoors upon us, there’s no better time to re-evaluate our skincare products. Hands up who’s guilty of using the same products day in, day out, no matter the time of year? Well, now is the time to stop. We’ve come a long way from the cold-cream cleansers of the 1990s, but did you know we should be switching up our skin routines much more regularly? Yep, not every few years, but every season. Much like how our wardrobes change from spring to winter, so should what we wear on our face. The days are getting warmer, which means the skin’s oil production can change. This, then, can have an effect on the moisturiser we loved in winter. So choose something lighter and think about an SPF increase. You’ve heard me bang on about the importance of that plenty of times. Finding a lighter, less oily, moisturiser should be on all of our to-do lists. Also essential for summer is an antioxidant that will support the skin’s natural production of collagen. The most sought-after antioxidant products are usually serums packed with vitamin C. A good one to add to our morning routines before we spend the summer months eating and drinking all around ourselves while hanging out in the sunshine. Enjoy!
I follow a lot of makeup people on Instagram. There is little I enjoy more than watching someone apply their makeup, whether it’s on the bus or on the internet, and watching a makeup artist do it is peak relaxation. Recently, MUA content has changed from self-application all the time, to detailing the prep they have to do as professionals to apply makeup to other people’s faces. It’s fascinating how they organise their products so they can have maximum choice to hand at any given location, and the care they take to ensure hygiene is a priority.
Reunited, and it feels so good/Reunited ’cause we understood... Whenever I see anything about the Bennifer — that’s J-Lo and Ben Affleck — reunion, this is the song going round in my head. Even if you’re too young to remember the Peaches & Herb classic, it’s totally understandable why this feels so good. I just love love, and, as I always say, never give up on love — no matter what age you are. We say we get wiser with age and, for most of us, that usually means kissing a few frogs before we meet a prince or princess. We also know that going back to an ex can be tough, seeing as friends probably know all the details of the first break-up, which can be awks. But Ben isn’t exactly a frog. I met him many years ago at the premiere of his movie The Town, and he is hot, hot, HOT! I’m sure you’ve seen the meme of Blanche Devereaux in The Golden Girls and J-Lo — who is now the same age as the classic character — showing just how much 50 has changed over the past three decades or so. And, on that note, see The Talk, right, for tips on how to look your best in your golden-glow years.
I regularly hear from people on Instagram who say they don’t know the first thing about makeup. They don’t know what to buy, and they definitely don’t know what to do with it. Whatever course their life has taken, they just never really got involved in the makeup game. That’s fine, of course, if the person is happy with that choice. However, the people who contact me generally aren’t. They say things like, “I wish I had your skills” or “I could never do that”. They don’t have the experience, they say, but in my opinion, what it comes down to is confidence.
Now that the sun has finally decided to grace us with its presence and we’re allowed to travel to any Irish coast that takes our fancy, we’re all thinking about sun cream. Well, all of us except those men who insist they’ll be grand every single year, only to get burned to a crisp within an hour of seeing the sun and then moan about their sunburn for days on end.
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