Monday 23 April 2018

The beauty panel: Seasons in the sun

There may be some summer left to come, says our beauty expert, so check out our five favourite seasonal finds

Pictured, from left, John Frieda Frizz Ease Air Dry Waves Styling Foam; M2 Beaute Eyelash Activating Serum; Avene Tolerance Extreme Mask; L'Occitane Nail and Cuticle Nourishing Oil; Eucerin After Sun Lotion. Photo: Kip Carroll
Pictured, from left, John Frieda Frizz Ease Air Dry Waves Styling Foam; M2 Beaute Eyelash Activating Serum; Avene Tolerance Extreme Mask; L'Occitane Nail and Cuticle Nourishing Oil; Eucerin After Sun Lotion. Photo: Kip Carroll

Sarah Caden

Thanks to our endless Irish optimism when it comes to the weather, there remains hope that summer has life in it yet. We're not asking much - just a week or two of September sun. And preferably including the weekends, and not just during the days when the kids are at school and we're at work.

With that in mind, we present five of the best summer products the Panel discovered these past months. These are the ones that got us through our holidays looking half-decent; distracted us from gloomier days at home, and generally made us feel like we had a handle on summer. Whether the sun shone or not. With these, you're all set, should it shine again.

There is no suncream in our top five today, but that's not to say that there's no need for it in the hoped-for September sun. We understand the pull to panic-tanning, but you will burn this month as easily as any other, and our recommendation of an after sun isn't an invitation to incinerate. After-sun lotion isn't a sunburn cure; it's just a souped-up moisturiser. Aside from that, we have a beachy-hair helper that proved the find of the summer, as well as other seasonal saviours that will work just as well in autumn.

Best Overall

John Frieda Frizz Ease Air Dry Waves Styling Foam, €8.99, available nationwide

There is a typical Irish head of hair that is neither straight nor curly, that is fine but not flat, and that really knows how to frizz. And this might be the summer saviour for all hair types. It doesn't make your hair flat, but assists that beachy waviness that many of us desire; but without it crossing the line into fuzz. And without you having to use a hairdryer - funny how that becomes such a sufferance in the summer. "You get all the benefits of a mousse, like bounce and volume and smoothness, but without the crunchy hardness," said a panellist. "Brilliant."

Best Lash Lover

M2 Beaute Eyelash Activating Serum, €120, The Derma Clinic, Blackrock, Co Dublin; Brown Sugar, 50 South William St, D2

If you have the kind of lashes that really, really bother you, then we found this stuff worked. We won't get into the science of it, but basically it extends the lifespan of your lashes by several weeks, so they grow longer before they fall out. Also, the new lashes emerge while the old ones remain, so you get a fuller lashline, too. We must point out that the effects last for as long as you're using it, and then your lashes will revert to normal. "For a summer treat, you could use this and skip mascara," said one panellist. "The lashes are impressive, honestly, if you can justify the cost."

Best Face Saver

Avene Tolerance Extreme Mask, €20.99, selected pharmacies nationwide

If you have looked in the mirror after your holidays and found your face to be wanting, this is the mask for you. While we like the feel of sun on our skin, it's not really our friend, and even if you've taken care, damage can manifest as roughness, redness and even dark spots. This mask is ostensibly a soother, with thermal spa water, shea butter and safflower seed oil. "A layer of this at night leaves my skin so plumped out and soft and even-toned by morning," one panellist said.

Best Talon Tamer

L'Occitane Nail and Cuticle Nourishing Oil, €14, L'Occitane stores nationwide

Two-week nail polishes are a wonder, but even they can suffer from the sun cream, the mosquito repellent and the swimming pool. This hard-wearing type of nail polish is porous, which is why salons recommend you use a nail oil over it daily. They're not just trying to sell you stuff. "My holiday nails were perfect after two weeks, and my nails were in good nick underneath," a panellist said. "Also, the small tube and the brush applicator meant I threw it in my hand luggage and actually used it."

Best Sun Salve

Eucerin After Sun Lotion, €16, available nationwide

The only pity about this after-sun lotion is that the 150ml bottle is too big for carry-on luggage. Aside from that, it's a great product. Unscented and suitable for sensitive skin, it has vitamin E and an ingredient designed to reduce redness, and that shrink-wrapped feeling that comes with sun exposure. "A perfectly bland lotion that balances richness and lightness well, which means it sinks in fast and leaves skin feeling refreshed," said one panellist.


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