Beat the January blues with these great beauty basics for under €25

Beauty basics are the stalwarts that populate a make-up bag; here’s some for face, hair and eyes

Beginnings are always uncertain and nerve-racking. This is in part why January feels like such an utter slog. The first week or so is alright – you’re still fuelled by Christmas pudding sugar (and possibly the fumes of the brandy it was absolutely drenched in). You’ve hopefully had at least some rest during Christmas week. By week two, though, January really starts to bear down, slow down and, frankly, bite down.

If we learned anything at Christmas – apart from the fact that Uncle John is off the wagon again and it’s now an empirically proven fact that your mother-in-law is physically incapable of smiling – it is that stuff doesn’t make us feel better. So I am in no way suggesting that buying make-up or skincare will make a tough month less tough. While they can make it a little more sensorially pleasing, a little softer and more fragrant, this week I’m more interested in what is basic and affordable.

“Basic” is by no means an insult – on the contrary, beauty basics are the stalwarts that populate your make-up bag; the products that put the heart crossways in you when you think for a moment that you might have forgotten them on a weekend away from home. They are the products that make you feel polished, prepared and that solve problems.

You can’t get more basic than foundation, but Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid (€13.99 at pharmacies nationwide) feels far more luxuriant than its price tag. The classic pot of Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, which was liberally horsed on (in the wrong colour) by everyone when I was a teenager, making them look moonish and dusty, is a world away. This foundation, by contrast, is glowing, with excellent coverage, and it makes skin look expensive. It has enough heft to cover a January face, but doesn’t sit obviously or feel heavy.


If you’re looking for a nice basic moisturiser, try Tandem Skincare More Than Moisturiser (€25.50 at Tandem make simple, effective, vegan and cruelty-free skincare in refreshingly pared-back recycled packaging. It leaves skin softened, protected and comfortable, and there is a rich version for dry skin.

Hair gets just as dry and tends to rebel on foggy and very cold days. A mask feels like an indulgence, but anyone with dry, curly or afro hair will know that it’s really a staple to keep hair in good condition, and curl or coil patterns shiny and defined. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque (€16.99 at Boots) is one to keep away from if your hair is fine or oily, but for all other hair types it’s excellent.

The new Fenty Snap and Mix Eyeshadow Palettes (€25 each or two for €45 at Harvey Nichols Dundrum) are excellent little palettes that you can mix and match. After the intensity of the festive season, I love True Neutrals and Peach as brightening daytime options for January. Finish with a coat or two of Glossier Lash Slick (€16 at which is understated but lengthening and deeply black – the best kind of basic.