Ruth Griffin: No expense spared
From an €800 face mask to a €250,000 nail polish, this is the money-is-no-object lust list
If money were not an issue, would you ever consider popping a $14million mascara into your clutch? Or a $250,000 nail varnish, perhaps? What about a $1,000 real gold face mask?
As bonkers as it might seem, these are actually all legitimate beauty buys in the seemingly far-flung world of luxury beauty. (H Couture Beauty sold the world's most expensive mascara and lipstick for $14 million, encased in thousands of diamonds and precious jewels - although, in fairness they also offered re-fills.) A few weeks ago, I covered the best budget buys for under a tenner, so this week I'm having a bit of fun and indulging in some billionaire beauty fantasies. Full disclosure - I haven't actually road-tested many of these beauty offerings myself. However, I've let my imagination run wild and laid out some of the most luxe, pampering and crazy-sounding beauty offerings I'd love to get my million-dollar manicure on. Roll on that Lotto win…
* How do celebs get their golden glow? Going by their social meda posts, Kate Hudson and Stella McCartney (above), and the Victoria’s Secret models use real gold leaf sheet masks. The Angels were prepped with Mimi Luzon 24K Real Gold Treatment Mask, €360 from net-a-porter.com. A less expensive option is Gilt Tripper Micro Peel Sheet Mask, €6 by FACEINC for NAILSINC, available at Boots, Brown Thomas nationwide and asos.com
Treat VS Cheat
For the ultimate in peeper pampering, check out La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Eye Cream exclusive to Brown Thomas
If your budget doesn't stretch to this, try this good alternative Lacura Vitacell Eye Cream from Aldi stores nationwide
6 of the best... mega-indulgent beauty goodies
The Glow Getter
This is actually one of the few offerings on this list that I have actually been able to road test. Did I love it? Yes - I thought it was a beautiful product that was like a drink of water for the skin. Would I invest in it if I had the budget? Definitely. La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold, €597, department stores nationwide.
This Lucia Magnani Ben Essere Set, €745, is the ultimate in both ingredients and gorgeous packaging, and includes creams, serum and a mask. From harveynichols.com
Riches of the Sea
Infused with a high concentration of La Mer's trademark Miracle Broth, it's formulated from a base of nutrient-rich marine algae and makes skin capable of naturally repairing and renewing itself.
La Mer Genaissance de la Mer, €510, from department stores nationwide.
Golden Glow Mask
Adore Cosmetics Golden Touch 24K Magnetic Facial Mask, €881.50. California-based Adore Cosmetics has created what may be the most excessive and outrageously priced mask in the world. This mask uses "the restorative power of pure gold" to replenish the skin. From adorecosmetics.com
Million Dollar Mani
If you fancy jazzing up your mani/pedi routine, you could ditch the boring neutrals and opt instead for the Azature Black Diamond nail polish, at a cool $250,000 (€204,325)! Jewellery couturier Azature produced this nail polish by infusing it with 267 carats of black diamonds. The Azature Black Diamond nail polish is available worldwide but only sold privately through their HQ in Los Angeles. In case you're wondering…
Smells Like Luxury
One of the world's most rare and expensive scents can now come bottled in the world's most prestigious crystal container. If you fancy smelling a million dollars, check out Joy by Jean Patou Baccarat, €1,472, from niemannmarcus.com
The gold star treatment
Pampering spa therapies to fantasise about... and some DIY alternatives
$1,000 Caviar Facial
Dropping $1,000 (€816) to cover your face in fish eggs may seem excessive, but it's a small price to pay for some beauty buffs. The 90-minute treatment is available at the La Prairie Spa at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Try at home Lacura Caviar Illumination 3 Minute Mask, €9.99, Aldi stores nationwide.
Are manicures getting crazier? If the $250,000 nail varnish (above right) seems a bit much, try a 'cheaper' option with London manicurist Cherish Angula and her $51,000 (€41, 657) 'Ices Manicure'. A favourite of Katy Perry and singer Alexandra Burke, it sees nails are decorated with hundreds of real diamond pieces!
Try at home Try Butter London Stardust Overcoat Nail Polish, €16.95, from Boots nationwide and €11.95 from hqhair.com
Nightingale poop 'Geisha' Facial
This is a Japanese beauty treatment that was originally practiced by the geisha. Bird's poop is believed to have special enzymes that can remove dead skin cells and leave you glowing - Victoria Beckham is reported to be a huge fan. The droppings in question don't come from any old nightingale, they are collected from a particular type, native to the Japanese island of Kyushu. So rare are the ingredients used that very few places offer the treatment and, when they do, it comes with a hefty price tag. Available at Spa To You at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, for €205.
Try at home Uguisu Poo No Fun Illuminating Face Mask, €23.20 plus €10.50 shipping from amazon.com
24 Karat Gold Facial
For those curious about gold-star beauty treatments, a beauty clinic in London is offering the UMO 24-karat gold facial at a price of €490. The procedure, whereby sheets of pure gold are smoothed on the face, is reputed to leave you with a 24-karat glowing complexion, which promises to reduce your wrinkles.
Try at Home Dermaplump 24 Carat Gold Luxury Collagen Face Masks, €29.99, and Lip Masks, €19.99 from McCabes pharmacies nationwide.
$5,000 Evian Bath
For bathing that would put Cleopatra herself to shame, check out the offering from Miami's Hotel Victor. It offers a $5,000 (€4,085) Evian bath in its penthouse overnight rate. It involves lolling in 1,000 litres of Evian water pumped into a 350-gallon infinity tub to "revitalise the skin and purify the senses."
Try at Home Please don't!
Ask the expert
With Elena Costello
Elena Costello is a beauty stylist for the Brown Thomas Beauty Style Team. She offers personal shopping for the entire cosmetics hall and is trained in over 22 top end brands, so she was obviously our first port of call when we needed the low-down on the best luxe pampering.
What are your best sellers in luxury beauty?
There are certainly lots to choose from but my top sellers would have to be
● La Mer Moisturising Cream (30ml €140). I'm always drawn back to this product, purely because it gives amazing results and can be used on the most sensitive of skins.
● Sisley's Double Tenser Serum (€137). This is gorgeous under make-up and gives an instant lifting and smoothing effect on the skin.
● La Prairie Cellular Radiance Eye Cream (€328). Amazing for brightening the eye area, particularly if you have any dark circles or puffiness.
What luxe skin treatments do you offer?
We offer an exclusive, bespoke facial service whereby customers can avail of a luxe facial using brands from across the beauty hall, tailored to suit their specific needs. The treatment is carried out in our Beauty Room, which is located on the ground floor. It really is the perfect opportunity to try new products in a private and relaxed environment. (€150 redeemable).
What luxurious skin ingredients sell well?
La Prairie's Caviar range is absolutely amazing, it contains caviar extract which has powerful lifting and firming properties, and also helps to hydrate and plump the skin. Twenty-four-karat gold is another luxury ingredient that can be found in La Mer's Genaissance serum - the ultimate product to give you glowing skin.
Have you noticed any new strong trends in luxury skincare?
The strongest trend in luxury skincare at the moment is face masks, in particular sheet masks. Korean skincare has had a huge influence on the Irish market and the masking craze has sky-rocketed. We stock over 250 masks in Brown Thomas, online and in The Beauty Lounge, located on Dubin's Clarendon Street. Prices start from just €2.50, so you can be sure to find one that will suit your skin's needs. They are a great addition to any skincare routine.
What is the biggest myth surrounding luxury skincare and beauty?
I think the biggest myth would have to be that you have to stick with one brand. This is completely untrue; you can have an array of brands and products that will give you amazing results. I would recommend getting advice from a professional, as some products may not be compatible to use with certain others, particularly if they contain an active exfoliant. We have a full service menu that caters for all and is completely unbiased.
What are some of the benefits of investing in luxe skincare?
I truly believe that everyone should invest in his or her skin; it's all about prevention. What I look for are products that have top quality ingredients. I think it's really important to start with the basics, a good cleanser, toner, moisturiser and a good SPF. These are the key foundations to ensure your skin's health. I'm a huge advocate for wearing an SPF all year round; my favourite at the moment is La Mer SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid (€95).
How do we get in touch?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (01) 617-1172 to book an appointment with. Brown Thomas launches its Wild Beauty event February 22. It runs until March 11. For more information, see brownthomas.ie