Laura Kennedy: The beauty products that made me love make-up again after lockdown

These are all too self-evidently lovely to feel embarrassed to use, but also just practical

People touching up their make-up in public is a fascinating window into their lives. Photograph: iStock

I love seeing people touch up their make-up in public. I always have. Provided whatever they’re using isn’t bothering other people (public transport hairsprayers and loose powder cloud-people, reassess your lives), it is a fascinating window into their lives. Masks have done little good for make-up, but they have perhaps had one good outcome – when you finally can remove your mask after sitting down at a restaurant table or getting off public transport to meet a friend at the park, there is little choice but to fix your make-up – if you want to, that is – in public. This small process has really reignited my love of make-up recently.

After the drabbest year in living memory, I’m grateful for every chance for sensorial interaction with make-up, and you’ll find me concealing in cafes and fixing my foundation in the park. This week I’m sharing my public pleasures – the products that are a thrill (an easy thrill, by the way, which is the only type I have patience for) to take out and use on the go. The ones that are too self-evidently lovely to feel embarrassed to use, but also just practical.

It is generally better to underapply blush than overapply it, as you can always add more later. This I invariably do with Hourglass Vanish Blush Stick (€52 at Space NK) as it enlivens skin instantly without the need for brushes or even a mirror. I love it. After a year indoors, I find that I am sometimes prone to wearing too little blush and looking washed out in full daylight, so I throw it in my bag for top-ups.

Sculpted by Aimee Cream Luxe Glow in Pearl Pop (€18 at is Irish, which is always a benefit, but it's also excellent. There is a champagne tone for warmer skin tones, but this pearl version is excellent for creating light reflection on paler skin. It glows, and can be patted onto cheekbones for structure, shine and a tiny jolt of welcome delight.


Finally, a change in fragrance is a change in mood. Jo Malone London’s Marmalade collection is just the jovial switch-up that warmer weather calls for. Elderflower Cordial Cologne (€62 at Brown Thomas) didn’t sound great to me on paper, but I was entirely wrong. It is a soft, undulating floral, redolent with sweetness (but not the saccharine tweeny kind). A powdery scent has my heart every time, but the sour notes of gooseberry save this from frilliness. It is the perfect white summer dress in a bottle. I confess that the limited edition bottle – such a departure from the brand’s familiar look – has also won me over.

The best lip products should be easy, wear away seamlessly over time, and leave lips in better condition rather than worse. Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip in Hero (€40 at Brown Thomas) is all of these things. I don’t love the name – “clean” beauty is a fad, and incorrectly implies that there are “dirty” products on the market (there aren’t). I do love the product though, and the shade range.

Product of the Week

Zelens brand relaunch, available at Space NK