I popped into my local Boots recently to grab a click-and-collect order, and found myself awash with nostalgia. I was with my youngest son, who is nearly four, and suddenly had a flashback to when his older brother was a baby. It was a very difficult time. I struggled intensely to adjust to motherhood, and felt more alone than any other time I can remember. I had been led to believe motherhood was a love bubble, a time when you felt overwhelmed with good fortune. Instead, I felt like a total failure. I felt like such a failure that I couldn’t even say it out loud, such was my fear of other people’s judgment. If other people knew I didn’t feel the right way, then they’d know I was a bad mother, which was too much to even think about. Instead, I felt like a bad mother all by myself.
spent my days alone with my son, doing my best to do the right things at the right times, and seeking joy in the tiniest ways. One such way was a wander around Boots. I remember thinking the staff would think I was mad, such was the regularity of my visits. I mean, I was a bit mad at the time. Still, I went back time and time again to gaze lovingly upon the shelves of beauty products, admiring the items I already knew and adored, and wondering if perhaps there might be something new to get excited about. It soothed me.
While I accept that that’s a somewhat extreme example, I do think there’s something about a high-performing yet reasonably priced product which can give you a lift. It’s a bit like you’re getting one over on the beauty industry. Sure, you could spend fifty quid on a fancy foundation, but why would you when you know the secret, that there’s one that’s just as good in the chemist for a fraction of the price?
Currently, my favourite ‘secret’ foundation is L’Oreal Paris True Match Nude Plumping Tinted Serum (€19.99 via boots.ie). This is a ‘your skin but better’ dream. It offers light but buildable coverage, never looks cakey and makes you look dewy and hydrated. If you’re a matte girly, this probably won’t be for you, but if you like to glow, you’ll love it.
Of course, ‘secret’ bargains don’t stop at foundation. Maybelline Instant Anti Age Eraser Concealer (€11.99 via inishpharmacy.com) easily competes with significantly more expensive products. It’s the ideal consistency for covering discolouration or blemishes without settling into fine lines. It blends easily and lasts well — what more could you want?
Despite having a full arsenal of pricey brow products, I regularly turn to two chemist favourites: e.l.f. Brow Lift Clear (€7 via boots.ie), and Max Factor Brow Shaper (€8.99 via dpharmacy.ie). The first easily moulds and holds your brows into your preferred shape, without them veering into crispy territory (which I personally don’t mind but others hate), while the latter provides lasting definition.
Video of the Day
I’ve tried a lot of brow pencils, and while a super-creamy formula is easy to apply, the colour doesn’t always last. This texture is just right for filling in gaps and shaping the brow as well as lasting the day.
Finally, another e.l.f. product. To be honest, I could do a whole column on e.l.f. products out-performing their price point, but for today I’ll leave it with their Putty Blush (€7 via boots.ie). These cream blushes deliver on pigment and texture as they blend easily into the skin, leaving you with a lasting and healthy flush.
Lost in translation
‘Lip Flips’ are regularly being tacked on to Botox appointments at the moment — but what does one entail? Essentially, a ‘lip flip’ is simply the use of Botox or similar product to relax the muscles in the upper lip, which can make your lip ‘flip’ a little, giving the appearance of added fullness. The results are more subtle than the results of lip filler, and last around two to five months.
I’ve been a dedicated fan of Fenty Match Stix (€24 via boots.ie) since Rihanna launched the brand in 2017. As you might expect from Fenty, these come in a wide range of shades, with a contour option for everyone. Amber is my go-to shade as a fair gal, and it never lets me down. I pick up some product on a stippling brush before tapping it onto the desired areas, which results in an easy blend and prevents me from overapplying — as I might if I applied the product directly from the stick. It’s not overly creamy, which means it stays where I put it, and with 7.1 grams of product per stick, I find it lasts me months despite regular use. Still, I buy them two at a time so I’ll never be without. As always, take my money, Rihanna.
… Something new
Milk Makeup is a brand with a desire to make makeup application easier. As a result, most of their products come in creams and sticks which can be applied directly from the tube onto the face, and blended with the fingers. The new Sculpt Stick (€26.84 via cultbeauty.com) is no different. This contour product blends seamlessly into the skin, and is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to mess around with sponges. Each of the four shades available are cool-toned, which is essential for contour, where you’re attempting to create shadow and dimension rather than the warmth of a bronzing product. However, the 4.6 grams of product may make you question the price point when compared to the above.
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