Brilliant beauty gifts that also happen to be Irish
This year’s must-have candles, diffusers, cleansers and affordable male skincare products
There are several compelling reasons to buy Irish this Christmas, the most obvious of which is the benefit of supporting home-grown Irish brands. Irish people are enthusiastic about beauty, and we have so many small and large brands that can compete on the world stage. Added to this is the fact that Irish brands tend to use Irish ingredients, incorporate fragrances that evoke our native landscape, and reflect our country’s innovation and creativity. On a shallower level, there are just so many brilliant Irish products, browsing through them in stores and online is really enjoyable.
The inclusion of Cloon Keen Atelier’s Noble Fir Candle (€40 at Brown Thomas) in this column each December is fast becoming a tradition. The inherently disloyal heart of every beauty writer means that I will write about another Christmas candle when I can find one to top this, but so far, nothing has come close. The sharpness of freshly trodden pine needles on a brisk winter day is balanced with fir balsam, amber and delectable cedar. This candle is Christmas in my house, and the only one I buy every year without fail.
Sligo brand VOYA has developed some especially lovely products this year. The Seasonal Spiced Reed Diffuser (€46 at stockists nationwide) is its most transportingly beautiful offering. Due to lack of self-control, it has been fragrancing my livingroom for weeks now, never fading, and garnering constant compliments. If you aren’t into Christmas tree fragrances, this sharp orange, warm cinnamon, wood and clove aroma is perfect for the festive season.
Should home grown skincare be more your gifting cup of tea, KINVARA Skincare Cleansing Oil Gift Set (€27.90) is a wonderful, natural way to facilitate make-up-wearing loved ones in cleansing thoroughly at bedtime. The glass-bottled cleanser and accompanying bamboo cleansing cloth are luxuriant and highly efficient. This is practical, conscientious luxury and works for any gender, age or skin type. For a more traditional skincare gift, Bia Beauty Lemon Myrtle Helping Hands Gift Set (€28 at Avoca, selected pharmacies) is practical and feels special. An ideal kitchen handwash and lotion set, its lemon myrtle fragrance is thoroughly fresh and clean.
Though the two above skincare offerings are for everyone, if you are looking for affordable skincare with a specifically masculine aesthetic, Kennedy & Co For Men (from €12.95 Dunnes Stores and pharmacies nationwide) is the range to shop. Darren Kennedy has developed a lovely range of five products, which I passed on to two male testers to get their feedback. The Daily Moisturiser with SPF20 (€12.95), Hydrating Beard Oil (€14.95) and Purifying Peat Face Scrub (€12.95) were all declared to be especially enjoyable to use, effective and good for travelling with. They are also vegan and both look and feel far more expensive than they are. You don’t have to be a man to use them, of course, but they are developed for the particular needs of male skin.