My life story in beauty products: From Anne French to Chanel

Beauty: The ones I retain are the ones which have made my life easier and give me joy

Recommended: some of my favourites from Chanel, Narciso Rodriguez, ghd, Moroccanoil and Bioderma

Recommended: some of my favourites from Chanel, Narciso Rodriguez, ghd, Moroccanoil and Bioderma

 

Whether you use and like cosmetics or not, the history of your life is punctuated by them. My interest in makeup really only took flame in my late teens. Before that, toiletries and cosmetics were limited to my mother’s Anne French makeup remover, my grandmother’s Imperial Leather soap, which would always sit fatly on the side of her bathroom sink. A sniff on the street of the perfume my mother wore carries me back into all the moments when she hugged me as a child, the fragrance emanating from her hair like a living memory. Beauty products are not just frivolity; in many ways they are a sort of soundtrack to our lives. They provide colour, texture and memory. The products that I have carried consistently through my adulthood are the ones which have made my life easier, and given me joy. We all of us have those, even the people who take an above-it-all attitude to the details of their ablutions.

As a student, I saved up to buy Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy (1 in photograph; €35 at Arnotts) and have been wearing it ever since. It is a very simple sheeny nude lip colour, but it is the best example of that sort of product there is. It gives a polished finish that you don’t have to worry about after application, keeps lips soft, and looks good on absolutely everyone.

Recommended

I was in my mid-20s when I found Narciso Eau de Parfum by Narciso Rodriguez (2; from €55 for 30mls), recommended to me by fellow beauty writer and friend Laura Bermingham while we were tearing through a French airport (there’s always time to stop to look at perfume). It has a completely unique fragrance – powdery Iris with a sort of milkiness. It is soft, clean, feminine, ageless and warm. I won’t be without it.

I used the same ghd straightener for 10 years, until I got my hands on the new ghd Platinum + Smart Straightener (3; €225), which is more technologically sophisticated and a bit kinder to hair. That first straightener – an 18th birthday present I still remember opening with complete joy – gave me the manageable hair, along with Moroccanoil Treatment Light (4; €15.95 for 25mls at lookfantastic.com), that I had always wanted. I heat style less now than I used to, but still rely on my ghd to wave, curl and straighten.

Practical purchase

I have loved and used Bioderma micellar water for years. However, I have been using the Bioderma Sensibio Limited Edition Pump (5; €17 from selected pharmacies nationwide) I got last year since then, and still have about a third left. It is available again this September and is such a practical purchase. This isn’t something I use every night – I prefer the benefits of a proper double cleanse at the sink. However, when I’m tired, ill or disinclined, this stuff is far better than resorting to wipes or sleeping in makeup, cleansing more thoroughly, and leaving less residue on the skin. The pump mechanism amply facilitates my natural laziness, and I appreciate that.

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