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Skin Deep: If you deserve a treat then you should try one of these

Life is tough. Treat yo self!


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.


I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found the first half of this year easy.

Things are a little heavy at the moment, especially for women in Ireland, and to be honest, I think we deserve a treat. I know, material things can’t fill the chasm of sorrow in your heart, but even a temporary lift isn’t to be sniffed at, is it? (If you think it is then you’d probably be better off looking away now.)

With that in mind, this week’s column is dedicated to some recommendations for treating yourself via cosmetics. Some of them are reasonably priced. Some of them are at the top end of the scale. If nothing else, I hope they serve as some distraction from the real world. We can but dream, after all! (This is also a good chance for me to tell you about some great stuff which hasn’t fit into the themes of recent columns!)

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wands (€61 for two)


I love these products, which make simple contouring an absolute dream. The highlight shade gives you the ‘lit from within’ glow everyone dreams of, and the contour shade is the perfect brown. Not orange, not sparkly, matte brown. Both products blend easily and can be applied with the wands themselves and then blended with fingers. If you’d like to contour but you find the whole thing intimidating, these products are for you.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer (€30)


Concealer has been a staple of makeup wearers’ kits for as long as it’s existed, but in recent years we’ve come to expect more and more from it. It’s not just about covering spots anymore. These days, we want it to brighten our face, even our complexion, erase under eye bags and of course, hover above any fine lines. This new concealer from Laura Mercier comes pretty close to achieving all of that (let’s be honest, hovering above fine lines may be an unrealistic expectation). I often use it on its own where necessary on a hydrated face and forego foundation entirely.

Nars Audacious Lipstick (€30)


This is my go-to when I’m trying to give myself a little pick-me-up. The packaging is beautiful and the formula is nearly unbeatable in my eyes. It’s comfortable to wear without looking overly sheeny. The colours are fantastic and offer great, lasting pay-off. I feel luxe every time I wear one of these bad boys, and what more could you want from a makeup treat?

Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara (€32.50)


I have never found a better mascara than this, and believe me I’ve tried. It’s got to have some sort of witchcraft in it because it lengthens and volumises like nothing else. I love almost everything about it, from its sleek gold tube to the gentle fragrance. What I don’t like is the price tag, considering how quickly it dries up. As a result, this is permanently in the ‘treat’ category.

Le Labo (From €5 to €831)


Le Labo is currently responsible for the chicest and most fashionable scents in the world, with anyone worth their salt wafting their fragrance around the place.

Unfortunately, we can only buy it online, which seems slightly crazy, given the fact that smell-o-vision has yet to be created. Having said that, we’re talking treats here, and if you can’t go bonkers when you’re buying yourself a treat, when can you? There’s gotta be a reason Santal 33 has become a cult favourite for both men and women! (Take it from me, there is, I recently spent a weekend with a woman who was wearing it and the entire hen party was obsessed.) No, it doesn’t come cheap, but again I say, ‘TREEEEAT!’

A real Beauty Blender €22


I recently used the real deal for the first time after years of using dupes. There’s a difference. A significant one. TREAT YO SELF.

MAC Fix+ Coconut (€22)


MAC’s Fix+ has been a makeup staple for years, and for good reason. It’s a primer, a refresher and a setting spray in one. You can use a bit of it to make a powder a liquid, or use it to dampen your beauty blender – it’s a multi-purpose wonder. Until recently, it only came in one format, but now you can get it in several scents and also a pearlescent edition. I’m recommending the Coconut scent because I want you to feel like you’re on holidays, but if you’d prefer lavender or rose, get it gurl!

Guerlain Rouge G (Case €15, lipstick €32)

Now, this is swish! Not only do these Guerlain lipsticks come in a fine range of thirty colours, but you get to pick the packaging yourself, from classic black and gold to neon pink. Each case includes a flip-up mirror. The lipstick itself and the case is purchased separately, as the case is refillable. This is the kind of stuff I dreamed of when I was seven.

Sunday Riley Good Genes (Approx €100)


Anyone I know who has used this exfoliating lactic acid treatment says it’s a game changer. It’s a white milky liquid which promises to improve the skin’s texture, plump up fine lines, improve elasticity and generally act like an elixir of youth. It’s available in Ireland in Space NK and Harvey Nichols, but it will set you back a cool hundred euro. Or at least around one hundred euro. The two British shops which sell it in Ireland don’t offer prices in euro on their websites, which is cool.

Glossier Balm Dot Com (Approx €12)


Glossier is officially delivering to Ireland as of May 15th, which is brilliant news. As you may have read, I’m a fan of the brand. All of their products feel like self-care to me, as they aim to enhance your natural beauty rather than masking your face. Balm Dot Com is a multi-purpose range which comes in a range of scents, and every time I use mine it feels like a little treat. The product itself is lovely, but the packaging is also really pleasing, as well as the scent. I use it on my lips and cuticles in the main, but it’s handy if you find your jumper catching on the dried husk you call your elbow as well. (Just me? Oh.)

Sleek Copperplate Highlighting Palette (€13.49)


Sleek is a brand which consistently outdoes expectations when it comes to value for money, and their highlighters have long been favourites of mine. This new palette features shades in the copper family. The two lighter shades are gorgeous natural highlighters, while the darker shades are more dramatic (I’ve been using them as eyeshadows). The shiny copper packaging makes it feel special without a price tag which breaks the bank.

Pat McGrath’s Entire Range (From €50, including postage)


Pat McGrath is responsible for most of the iconic makeup looks you can call to mind. She is backstage at every major fashion show around the world, and behind more Vogue editorial shoots than you can think of. It’s no surprise that her makeup range is special. I have only tried one product, a MatteTrance lipstick, and its formula is like nothing else I’ve ever tried. It’s super matte but not at all heavy, making it long-lasting and comfortable to wear. I can only imagine what the eyeshadow palettes are like. *drools at length*

Clarins Water Lip Stain (€21)


I don’t know about you, but I often find myself absorbed in photographs of glowing models as I try to decipher whether or not their healthy pink lips are actually that colour or if it’s some wonder product I’ve yet to discover. Or at least, I used to, until I discovered Clarins Water Lip Stain. Light and comfortable, it comes in four colours (red, rose, violet and orange) and gives your lips a gorgeous tint that lasts. It’ll be available on counter from May 31st. I’m wearing rose in this article’s accompanying photograph.

New Product


MAC have released a new range of cosmetic glitters just in time for summer, and thank god for that, because decent stuff has been hard to come by up til now! When you’re sparkling yourself up for summer shenanigans you don’t want delicate sparkle, you want chunky glitter, and MAC is absolutely delivering on that front. The range includes colours from Bronze to Lavender to Turquoise as well as chunky stars and hearts. They’ll set you back €22 a pot. Expect to see them all over festivals this summer.

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