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Triona McCarthy: Up in the hair


Triona's trends: Snap. Crackle. Pop! Oooh — that’s the sound of sweetness when it’s coming from your cereal bowl, but the sound of suffering when you’re pulling out your ponytail.

Ouch! But you’re in luck, ladies, as I’ve got all the best haircare tips and tricks to make your once straw-like mane totally manageable again.

Step forward the new Dove Hair Damage Therapy range, right, which I’ve been using. Constant straightening, blow-drying, curling, dyeing, and even the inclement Irish weather all result in hair that’s more glum than glossy. However, products in the range, such as the Intensive Repair Shampoo, the Intensive

Repair Conditioner, both €3.59, and the Intensive Repair Express Treatment Conditioner, €3.99, contain, according to Dove, a unique fibre-active technology which penetrates the hair strand to repair, protect and condition at the hair’s deepest level.

Dove say this results in unrivalled internal hair repair, and ultimately replenishes hair from the inside out. Bringing the Salon Home range, from hair expert Scott Cornwall, is available from Boots, and it’s a fantastic at-home range, too. You can get three months of smooth silky hair with the Str8 Forward Super Straight, €13. It removes curl, wave and frizz. The Foil Effects Cap, €12, will let you create salon-style foil effects at home. It moulds to your scalp, to allow the colour to be applied close to the base of the root.

Triona's tricks

Here’s a trick for fuller lips to make you smile. Outline the perimeter of your pout with a concealer brush dipped in bronzer that’s just a hint darker than your natural lip colour. Then apply a natural-looking gloss and blend it seamlessly. A pop of pearl eyeshadow or some concealer in the centre of the upper lip and the Cupid’s bow will give the illusion of volume. Now smile!

Golly gosh

Oh my gosh — I have to admit I was a Gosh virgin. I’d oohed, aahed and pawed the cosmetic range in Alwear, but never bought any, even though my sister Laura loved lots of it.

Then I had lunch with some lovely ladies who were raving on about how the Gosh nail polishes were the best ever, as well as the super-sized bronzer. And they said Gosh’s primer was similar to a dearer one, but it had the same effect. So off I trotted to Alwear to get me some Gosh loving. The Gosh Velvet Touch Foundation Primer, €14, really is a perfect base for all make-up. It filled in my fine lines and deep pores, creating a uniform, matt and silky-soft surface, enabling easy application of my foundation.

The primer can be used after your daily moisturiser, or even on clean skin. Best of all, the formula is perfume and preservative-free. So, for not a lot of dosh, you can get a lot of Gosh.

Perfect skin

I recently visited the Avene Dermatological Hydrotherapy Centre, a spa in the South of France, just north of Montpellier. The spa provides the water for the Avene range of skincare products which is a market leader in France, and it’s now available here in Ireland. The spa is the destination of choice for people with psoriasis, eczema or acne.

A visit to the spa can really improve sufferers’ quality of life, and I met some Irish kids who were being treated there who had got great results. Anyhoo, the stand-out product for me in the range is the Eau Thermale Avene Spring Water Spray, from €4. This skin-cooling mist can be spritzed on to skin to relieve and revive skin, and it’s suitable for all skin types, even babies’ skin.

As the water dries, it leaves a film of silica on the skin, softening and protecting the surface and leaving it feeling fresh and comfortable. The low mineral content in the water, as well as its pH 7.5 (almost neutral) balance, will not sting, burn or dry out the skin and it can even be used on open, clean wounds.

In this weather you need to hydrate your skin more than usual, so the Spring Water Spray is always in my handbag.

Cult product

We all know how great make-up primers are — well, now we have a hair primer, courtesy of Wella Professionals. Velvet Amplifier, €10, is used when hair is wet to prime it before you style it. As I’ve said before — think of primers as lingerie — it’s what, hopefully, you put on first before styling and dressing to instantly improve how your hair responds to virtually any styling process. You only need one pump and it will help to create a natural style, and a touchable structure — filling in any gaps in much the same way that a make-up primer fills in lines.

Add styling products on top, and you’re in prime position.

Triona's most wanted

I’m all for beautifying on a budget, so I’m deffo going to avail myself of the Winter Specials at Espa at The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt. If it’s good enough for our former Miss World, Rosanna Davison, it’s definitely good enough for lil ol’ me.

My favourite of their great offers is the Winter Sparkle, €125. It is available every day, and gets you use of the 20m Swarovski Crystal-lit swimming pool and also the hot pool, two hours use of the exclusive Thermal Suite facilities and deeply relaxing Serenity Room, and a full-body salt and oil body scrub.

Also included is a two-week Shellac file and polish for the hands and for the toes, too.

Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, tel: (01) 274-9710 or email powerscourtspa@ ritzcarlton.com, see www.ritzcarlton.com