Four beauty brands that capture the best of Ireland in a bottle
Innovation from Pestle & Mortar, Spotlight, Burren Perfumery and Cloon Keen Atelier
Irish beauty, bottled: Pestle & Mortar Exfoliate, Spotlight White Teeth Wash, Burren Perfumery Rose Facial Toner and Calendula & Rose Cleanser, and Cloon Keen Atelier Lúnasa
St Patrick’s Day can be a touch embarrassing: the legions of non-Irish people marching the streets in plush leprechaun hats; the unsettling juxtaposition of excited children waving Tricolour flags at parades while, next to them in the crowd, at 2pm, an intoxicated man dances alone, weeping and holding a can of Dutch Gold. Almost (almost) nothing about our national day really captures our spirit as a nation, or what it means to be Irish.
Irishness is a lot of things. It is never complaining at a restaurant, even if your fish comes out still bucking around the plate. It is considering a pint of milk a beverage rather than an ingredient in something you’re cooking or baking. It is knowing that humour, at its best, is always gently at the expense of someone, and it is understanding, deep in your bones, the difference between bacon and ham.
It is also being creative with the resources you have, and forging something beautiful from our native landscape. Ireland is beautiful, and this is increasingly reflected in the brands which are born and nurtured here, representing the best of Irish beauty around the world.
Some, like the tremendous international success story Pestle & Mortar, harness Irish pragmatism to make products that solve universal problems. The brand has come a long way since its Pure Hyaluronic Serum became a phenomenon, in 2015, and is now a global contender in skincare. The latest addition to the range, Exfoliate (€29 at kilkennyshop.com) is a glycolic acid toner that anyone who wants to exfoliate without gritty physical exfoliants and promote cell turnover (and, consequently, more glowing and smoother skin) should try.
Spotlight Whitening is another Irish success story, with its at-home whitening strips the first outside the United States to actually whiten teeth effectively. Its product range has expanded, too, the latest addition being its White Teeth Wash (€12.99 at pharmacies nationwide), with a convenient self-filling lid.
Some brands use native ingredients to bottle the best of Ireland and sell it to people at home and around the world. Among these is Co Clare’s Burren Perfumery, a treasure. Even if you can’t pay a visit, you can still enjoy its products, which are inspired by the unique landscape they are created in. You probably already know its fragrances; as for its quietly lovely skincare, start with its Calendula & Rose Cleanser (€22 at burrenperfumery.com) and go from there. The Rose Facial Toner (€16), which I prefer to use as a pre- and post-make-up application facial mist, is also a beautiful buy.
For luxe native fragrance, Cloon Keen Atelier is a Galway gem. Its candles and fragrances are among the best you can find anywhere. Lúnasa (€130 for 100ml at Brown Thomas), created with the perfumer Céline Guivarc’h, juxtaposes neroli and mandarin with clover and violet, all blending into a solar amber base. Cloon Keen’s fragrances are always Irish, with a twist.