Five of the best Irish beauty brands from Sligo to Cork
Homegrown Irish beauty brands are thriving like never before
There was a time when the term “Irish beauty” brought to mind orange tide lines and Rimmel Heather Shimmer lipstick. That time is past; the Irish consumer is generally well informed about brands and ingredients, has a voracious appetite for beauty products and knows the real thing from a dud.
This atmosphere has produced the best sort of competition – brands offering inferior products and service have been squeezed out, and there is more cream rising to the top than ever before. From major successes to smaller operations, Irish beauty brands are thriving, and we are buying Irish.
There are plenty of natural brands to choose from, but Joanne Browne batch makes her Jo Browne Natural Cleansing Facial Balm (€34 from Kilkenny Shop and jobrowne.com) and other products, including solid fragrances, in Co Carlow. The wooden packaging is unique and beautiful, while the balm dissolves every trace of make-up. Try removing it with one of the brand’s eco-friendly bamboo face cloths.
If your heart is more inclined toward Sligo than Carlow, Voya is that county’s great beauty success story. The seaweed used in its products is sustainably and locally sourced, and hand cut regularly. The new Men’s Range is a delight. The Rejuvenating Moisturiser (€49 from Voya spas and voya.ie) restores the barrier of compromised skin, leaving a protective layer with just the right amount of emollient but no filmy residue. The fresh, warm lime and clove fragrance won’t be for everyone, but the male tester who tried this loved it.
Cork’s Bia Beauty flew under my radar for quite a while – the Irish beauty industry is enjoying something of a renaissance and the number of new brands entering the market over the past number of years is impressive. Bia Beauty’s Pure Nutritious Face Oil (€32.95 from biabeauty.com) is a revelation, and made me pay attention to the brand. The base is rosehip oil, which is promising, but the blend is spectacular. A crisp, moreish rosemary scent makes this feel refreshing while it comforts and nourishes the skin beautifully. It is a sumptuous addition to any skincare routine, either worn alone, or layered or mixed with other products.
High-end beauty and skincare can also be found at home. Pestle & Mortar won’t be new to Irish skincare enthusiasts, as the brand has achieved international acclaim. However, its most recent release – Recover The Ultimate Eye Cream (€37.95 from cloud10beauty.com) is rich in peptides, creamy and depuffing but not congesting. As always with Pestle & Mortar, the packaging is luxurious and exudes cool. It really is a near-perfect eye cream, kicking rival products where it hurts.
Spotlight Teeth Whitening Strips (€39.99 from Boots) hail from Galway; the invention of sisters and dentists Lisa and Vanessa Creavan. Though I have found the strips less effective than American offerings (ingredients within the EU are much more aggressively regulated), these are the most effective at-home tooth whitening products on the Irish market. The brand is a global success for good reason – the strips work.