In winter, we tend to be all about skincare. Maybe it's the case that while we're in hibernation mode, and hanging about indoors a bit more, we have more time to examine and attend to our imperfections. Then, once the relatively warmer weather arrives, we just want to get out there, so we hope for the best. We slap on a bit of bronzer, apply a bit of self-tan, even let a little sun on our skin, and we simply believe that we look better. And, to some extent, we do. But look closer - at the pores clogged with tanning products, and the skin that's dried out by sun, sand and sea - and you'll discover the damage.
We don't recommend that you hide away or cancel your holidays, however. That's a bit like suggesting that the best way to prevent facial lines is to stop smiling. In summer, we swear by a good serum that will work on perfecting your complexion long after the few seconds that it takes to apply. Further, because serums are light in texture, they won't feel smothering in the heat. Take a little care of your summer skin and attain a summer glow rather than the look of a leather suitcase. Summer skin can look good, and today's top 10, all of which can be found at The Loop in Dublin Airport, can help to dial back the damage.
Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate, €58.50, The Loop, Dublin Airport
This super-light serum is designed for tired, dull skin, which is not necessarily how you like to think of your summer complexion. But 'tired' and 'dull' are exactly how summer skin can be, when it's overloaded with tanning products or overexposed to the sun. This is a great product if your skin is displaying those fine lines that speak of dehydration. High in glycerin, it works wonderfully on thin, dehydrated lines, plumping them up to a soft-skin effect. It also has skin-brightening properties, allowing applied tan to go on more smoothly and real tan to glow more clearly. "I got gorgeous softness from this," said one panellist. "It's like a skin holiday."
Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask, €31.60, The Loop, Dublin Airport
If you're taking a flight this summer, consider using a moisturising mask to keep your complexion peachy in all that hot, recycled cabin air. This is a nice example of such a mask, as it is both creamy and cooling. Also, it doesn't look white and heavy on your skin, so you won't look like you're travelling under a layer of cold cream, either. It contains natural extracts of katafray and sorbier bud, which claim to draw moisture into the skin and boost circulation, respectively. "Suppleness is what I reckon this mask brought to my skin," said a panellist. "I used it twice a week after a sun holiday and it worked like a charm to restore my poor sun-punished skin."
Clinique for Men Exfoliating Tonic, €20.40, The Loop, Dublin Airport
Exfoliation is key to superior summer skin, particularly if you've taken the sun, or applied a tan. Yes, the men are at the latter, too. Men's skin is different to women's, in that it's thicker and tougher, so it needs a different level of exfoliation. For that reason, this is an ideal male-grooming product, but not one for a woman to share with him. This product claims to clear pores of debris - lovely word - to slough away dead skin cells and to help with ingrown hairs. The last makes it a good pre-shave product, too. And, in a skincare context, men love multi-tasking. "I like the fresh-splash feel of this stuff," said one male panellist. "And I could see that it worked well at exfoliating, because my skin had a bright shine."
Lancome Visionnaire, €86.70, The Loop, Dublin Airport
This is Lancome's masterful all-rounder, claiming to fix face issues that range from enlarged pores to uneven skintone, and everything in between. The fact that it's a major best-seller speaks volumes and, if your skin's not on the dry side, you might find that this is all the skincare you need this summer, and that you can ditch the moisturiser. "I use this a few times a year, and I see results within weeks," a panellist said. "This time out, it definitely bestowed a bit of extra brightness, as I notice that using sun creams and self-tans tends to take a toll on my sensitive skin."
YSL Forever Youth Liberator Y-Shape Creme, €65.90, The Loop, Dublin Airport
While you're busy taking care of the face, the poor old neck and chest can get regrettably overlooked and, in the case of the chest, the neglect shows quickly. Leathery cleavage is ferociously age-betraying, so take care of it and use a high SPF on this area. Then, keep dehydration at bay, as well as the lines that come with it. This moisturiser is part of a range that claims to work on the contours of the face, neck and decolletage. We're not entirely sure that it will resist the forces of gravity and prevent sagging, as promised, but it's effective in pepping up the texture and tone of damaged skin. "This smoothed out an area of my skin that looked a bit ravaged from years of sun exposure," said one panellist. "Plumped-up and polished, I'd say."
Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum, €68, The Loop, Dublin Airport
If even a hint of the summer sun reawakens and reboots all of the sun-damage spots and lines of previous years, then this might be the serum for you. Now, it might be a slight stretch to believe that a skincare product can know what your specific skin type needs, but it's pretty impressive in dealing with lines, dehydration and, crucially in summer, skintone. There are various patents attached to the technology, as well as lots of odd ingredient names. They add up to a powerful potion. "This feels lovely, immediately, but it also made a difference to my roughed-up skin surface," one panellist said.
Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, €100.75, The Loop, Dublin Airport
Pores can be a real pain in the summer. All winter long, you'd hardly know they exist and, then, along comes summer and you can see nothing else. This will be particularly problematic if you're partial to the old self-tan. Used regularly on the face, even with adequate exfoliation, self-tan can gather in the pores, making them look large and dark. Not pretty. Exfoliating will help, but some cases need a bit more help. This serum is specifically designed to reduce the appearance of pores, and it's not at all shabby. "I added this to my night-time routine and I believe my skin looked finer within a week," one panellist said.
Biotherm Homme Age Fitness Night, €27, The Loop, Dublin Airport
Men like to look summer-fresh too, you know. And night-time is the best time for most men to moisturise, particularly when the weather is warmer. Men don't like the feel of product on their face quite the way women do, and they don't equate rich cream with luxury, so this algae-rich night cream is a nice choice. It's light in feel, and it will rehydrate and replenish their skin as they sleep. The effect is a plumped-up skin texture, without excessive richness or oiliness. "This has a nice cool texture, but it made a big difference to my fed-up face," one male panellist said. "I looked refreshed."
Estee Lauder Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme, €39.99, The Loop, Dublin Airport
The clue to the benefits of this product are there in the name. It's fabulous for dried-out skin, giving it a super boost of bounciness, but without being too thick or heavy, which makes it perfect for summer. It claims to offer 24-hour hydration, and a boost of up to 50pc in skin hydration levels. No small claims, but we saw great, lasting dewiness from it. "My skin is too fundamentally dry - or old - to lessen my moisturiser in summer," a panellist said, "but this feels fresh and more summer appropriate, without any loss of skin-improving efficacy."
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, €46.75, The Loop, Dublin Airport
Overnight, on holiday, that's how we prescribe you use this mask. It's a winner all year, but it comes into its own on holiday and should be thrown into the travelling toilet bag. It's creamy and rich - it's much heavier than any summer moisturiser should be - but given it's a mask that you're sleeping it in, this doesn't matter. And both qualities make it feel like a treat. Creamy in texture, but oil-free, with a high algae content, it bestows a dewiness by morning. "It's one of those products that makes you look like you've had a great night's sleep," a panellist said, "which is not necessarily how my holidays go. I used it before my trip for a preparatory skin boost, and after, for a repair. It did both very well."
Sunday Indo Life Magazine