Are we there yet? Are we at hibernation-saturation point? Even better, are we ready to reapply the warpaint and even face a party? Maybe that's taking it a bit too far, but having enjoyed a stripped-bare and squeaky-clean face for the last four weeks, it's time to countenance cosmetics again. Nothing too fancy, but a little pick-me-up that is perceivable when we look in the mirror; a little colour to brighten up the still short and dark days ahead.
It doesn't take much to breathe a bit of life into what you already have in your make-up bag. It's amazing how a small tweak can alter all your other make-up. A new blush or the addition of a little highlighter can knock a few years off the most dead-tired of us. When it comes to foundation, a classic seasonal error is to go heavy, as if your pale, wintry skin needs coverage, when, in fact, a more dewy finish is what you need to make you look less exhausted. And finally, there's no harm, even though the party season is well past, in adding a little fun to the mix. Go mad, and move away from the browns and greys. It doesn't have to be a lifetime commitment, just whatever gets you through this no-man's-land time of year.
Chanel Coco Code Blush Harmony, €57, Chanel counters nationwide
Blush-draping is the new contouring, apparently. This can mean using blush colours along the lines of your facial bone structure, from the temples down the cheekbones; or it can mean using it around the eye sockets or jawline. This limited-edition blush quad is a blush-draping dream, as the shades include obvious highlight and shade colours, as well as a punchy pink. You can use them separately; you can drape if you want; or you can just get a big brush, swirl them together and blush as normal. "The four colours offer so many options," said a panellist. "And they are far more subtle on the skin than they appear - though the drama can be ramped up."
Clarins 4-Colour All-in-One Pen Eyes & Lips, €36, Clarins counters nationwide
Here's your bit of fun for the spring ahead. Remember those multi-coloured pens where you clicked to choose the colour from a selection at the top? Well this is a make-up version, with three eye colours - brown, black, blue - and one lip-liner colour. All lovely quality, all easy to use, and oh-so cute and clever. "I thought this would be fiddly and gimmicky, but it's not," a panellist said. "Standard Clarins quality, but with a flourish of fun that makes it more than just a handy four-in-one product."
L.o.v Illusionary Highlighter Cream in Illusionary Rose, €12.95, Shaws; selected pharmacies nationwide
This brand is the big sister of teen and 20-something favourites, Catrice and essence. It majors in decent-quality products that don't break the bank. And when the spend isn't too great, we're more willing to buy bits of whimsy, such as this pale-pink highlighter, which will do wonders for winter-white skin. "This isn't so much a night-out highlighter as an all-the-glow boost," a panellist said. "I look alive again."
Bobbi Brown Cheek Glow Palette in Pearl/Pink Flush, €43, Arnotts; Brown Thomas; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
In a nutshell, this palette comprises a Bobbi Brown Rouge Pot with a companion creamy highlighter. Its January release speaks of an awareness that skin needs extra help out of the dull doldrums at this time, and this combo does just that. It's available in three colourways - one more bubblegum than this; while the other is a deeper hue. "A gorgeous product," said a panellist. "The creamy texture was dewy on my dry skin, and the two products add up to blush with a bonus."
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Cushion, €38, Lancome counters nationwide
Teint Idole is Lancome's medium-coverage, no-touch-up foundation that promises not to look chalky or dry out your skin. And now it's in this knacky compact. The trick they have pulled off is creating a spongy cushion through which the moderately thick foundation can seep evenly onto the provided sponge. "It's a handy way to carry a liquid foundation," said one panellist. "And I love that you buy the compact first, and then you only have to get refills after that, which also means you can change shades seasonally."
Sunday Indo Life Magazine