Sunday 22 April 2018

Mamma Mia - the perfect beauty bits for your mother

Lavish her with love today, says Sarah Caden, with an extra little something or a last-minute token of affection

Pictured, from left, Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cheeks in Sublimate; Dior DreamSkin 1-Minute Mask; Sisley Izia Eau de Parfum; Jo Malone London Blue Hyacinth Cologne; Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Floralixir Dew
Pictured, from left, Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cheeks in Sublimate; Dior DreamSkin 1-Minute Mask; Sisley Izia Eau de Parfum; Jo Malone London Blue Hyacinth Cologne; Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Floralixir Dew

The key advice to anyone mulling over a Mother's Day present is that, really, you cannot do enough. You will never be able to repay her for all that she has done for you, and she may well be the kind of mother to remind you of this, but you can try.

And most mothers love a bit of effort. She doesn't mean it when she says she doesn't want anything, and more fool you if you're empty-handed today. She will take this as evidence that she did a bad job in rearing you and that will wound her even more than the lack of a bunch of flowers, box of chocolates or a thoughtful beauty bit. There is time yet, though. Unless you're reading this on Monday.

However, even if you have something bought for your mum already, there's no harm in picking out an extra little present for her. Beauty bits are hard to buy for your mother. If you're a child, you haven't a clue. If you're a man, you probably haven't a clue either. If you're a grown woman, you may be good at recalling the bits and bobs she has in her bathroom or make-up bag, but sometimes it's hard not to impose your taste on her. So, help is at hand here, for those of you full of love for mum, but no idea how to show it.

Best Overall

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cheeks in Sublimate, €70, Brown Thomas, or see

Tom Ford's original Shade and Illuminate was a compact comprising two shades of gel-cream; a brown one to contour, and a gleamy white one to highlight the cheek area. Since then, he has produced gorgeous finely milled powder blush-and-highlight combos, and, now, this new gel-cream duo. Available in two shade variations, the high pigment content makes it look 1980s scary in the compact, but the texture is sheer and so easy to blend that the two-tone effect is very elegant. "No go-faster stripes with this, even if your mother is no Kardashian contour queen," said one panellist.

Best Fast Face

Dior DreamSkin 1-Minute Mask, €68.50, Brown Thomas, or see

Quick and effective; what more could any busy mother want? And busy is the only kind of mother there is. Easy to use, you just apply a layer of the mask, add water, foam it up and then leave it on for the single minute it claims. While skin looks noticeably brighter, it doesn't feel tight. And you do look like you've had a good night's sleep. This mask speaks your mother's language. "A magic product," said a panellist. "It really needs no more than one minute on the face and the results are smoothness, softness and brightness."

Best Rose Garden

Sisley Izia Eau de Parfum, €175, Brown Thomas or

Try not to make assumptions when you are told that this is a scent built around the rose. It's not fuddy-duddy floral; it's not overly heavy; it's not grannyish. The last bit is going to matter to your mammy. This is not a fragrance that will put years on her. Sisley layers on the rose for a nicely balanced rich floral, with depth from woody musk and a breeziness to boot. "The rose is very elegant in this," said a panellist. "It's not too girlie, but it's not ageing either. A perfect gift."

Best Floral Fancy

Jo Malone London Blue Hyacinth Cologne, €46, Brown Thomas, or see

Jo Malone's annual spring offering references the Bloomsbury Set, which included Virginia Woolf, her sister Vanessa Bell and EM Forster. There is an English eccentricity to the collection, with the likes of Garden Lillies and Whiskey and Cedarwood, as well as this scent, Blue Hyacinth. It is recognisably hyacinth, without being too heady, or for that matter, headachey. "A garden-lover's delight," a panellist said.

Best Dewy Delight

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Floralixir Dew, €110, Brown Thomas, or see

This skincare solution, exclusive to Brown Thomas, will evoke different reactions, according to the kind of mother you have. One kind will

wonder why you got her a bottle of water, another kind will swot up on this "dew" and thank you for it. With extracts of a Himalayan flower that survives in extreme conditions, it promises to soothe, strengthen and restore radiance. "Any fan of multi-step Korean-style skincare will love this," said a panellist. "It's gorgeous on dry or tired skin."

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