Laura Kennedy: These nostalgia-inducing beauty products can reintroduce you to make-up

A blast from the past may help you rediscover your love for make-up

Some beauty products instantly place me back in childhood, watching women complete their beauty rituals. Photograph: iStock

If you’ve fallen out of love with beauty this year, you wouldn’t be the only one. It is a wagon that we have collectively fallen off to some degree. If you’re happy off that wagon – feeling more liberated than lumbered – there is much to be said for staying where you are.

If, like me, you want to hop back on but can’t seem to muster the leverage for the jump, allow me to suggest taking the pressure off yourself by looking backwards. One way that I have relocated joy in beauty is to revisit the products I feel tremendously nostalgic about, and remember why it is that they captured me in the first place.

This inclination toward product nostalgia didn’t come from the ether. It was a single product landing on my desk that started it all. I first received a bottle for Christmas when I was 12 and observed that serious women often had a preferred personal fragrance, so naturally, I should have one too. My chosen perfume? The most ubiquitous affordable scent of the late 1990s and early 2000s – The Body Shop White Musk EDT (€29.95 at The Body Shop). Well reader, she’s back, and smelling her again was an experience of nostalgia beyond description. I still like the fragrance, and I’ve been enjoying it enormously this week.

Clinique Moisture Surge 100h Auto-Replenishing Hydrator (€45 at Arnotts) is an ultra-hydrating, gelatinous cream which was kind to skin and plumping when I first started using it in my early 20s, and it remains that way now. It has been improved through reformulation a couple of times in the ensuing decade, and every version has kept what I love about it – the smooth, cooling texture, instant plumping effects and beautiful base for glowing make-up, while upping the hydrating effects.


My first proper red lipstick was Mac Russian Red Matte Lipstick (€20 at Brown Thomas), and I still maintain that it is superior to Mac Ruby Woo, the uber-famous red for which the brand is probably best known. While Ruby Woo has a very dry texture and warm undertone, Russian Red has a bluish hue, which whitens teeth by contrast and looks great on paler complexions. It also applies, sits and wears better than its more celebrated sibling.

Finally, L’Oréal Elnett Hair Spray (€4.50 at pharmacies nationwide). Your granny’s hairspray. Possibly her granny’s hair spray too. It is an enduring symbol of gregarious women going “out out”, and a love letter to big hair. I have tried nearly every expensive professional brand hairspray on the market, but always I’ll return to Elnett. I do this because I love the smell, which instantly places me back in childhood, watching women complete their beauty rituals, but also because it works as well now as it ever has. I’ll use it forever.

Product of the Week

Giorgio Armani Prive Cyprés Pantelleria (€106 at Brown Thomas)