More than 15,000 beauty product fans a day visit Beaut.ie. for friendly advice on the products which do what they say on the fancy packaging. Founded by Herald beauty writer Kirstie McDermott, and her sister Aisling, there is now a book based on the best of the beauty blog which has been running since 2006.
The Beaut.ie Guide To Gorgeous reviews products which Kirstie and Aisling have been trying out for years. And the book, compiled by Aisling, has the distinction of being the first ever Irish beauty book published.
So before you hit the shops to stock your make-up bag or bathroom cabinet, check out some of the products which have received the thumbs up from Kirstie and Aisling.
Simply the best: Tweezerman Tweezers
With their wide grip, Tweezermans are a cinch to use. The bright pink slant tweezers get out every single hair, no matter how tiny. Rated on Beaut.ie as the must-have gadget (over GHDs and eyelash curlers): invest in a pair of these and you won't know yourself.
Which is the best: Eve Lom or Liz Earle?
Eve Lom Cleanser and Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth are both famous for good reason. These two standout cleansers are always mentioned in tandem whenever there is a discussion on Beaut.ie about which cleanser is the absolute best.
Both are multi-award winners and come from brilliant ranges. Both use a muslin-cloth method and are packed full of scrumptious ingredients. So who do you decide which to go for?
Eve Lom (right) is a thick, waxy, balm-type cleanser, while Liz Earle (below) has a rich, creamy formulation that smells fresh. Price tends to be the biggest consideration between the two, though. There's no doubt about it that Eve Lom is expensive (with a capital E).
It's the Crème de la Mer of cleansers, but if you're a luxury freak and you have the readies to spend, then go for Eve Lom.
If you want high quality, high performance, fresh botanicals, a more reasonable price and a cleanser that consistently wins beauty awards too, then get the Liz Earle version. Or do what I did and try them both. Ask for Eve as a present and buy Liz yourself.
Aisling's pick: Origins Modern Friction
If you're looking for a scrub recommendation, Origins Modern Friction is it. Adored by gazillions for all the right reasons, this stuff is packed full of gorgeous botanic ingredients such as rice starch, lemon oil and aloe and will leave your skin super soft and utterly pampered. Origins calls it 'nature's gentle dermabrasion', and while it's sloughing off dead skin it also magically refines pores. This one's a keeper.
Moisture for hungover skin: Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque
Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque is known on Beaut.ie as the 'orange burn-victim mask' because this is what you'll look like with it on, gooey and dripping with orange slime. But it's nourishing and super hydrating and it infuses your skin with vitamins -- essential for hangover recovery. As with all face masks, just hope no one calls to the door.
Make me young: cheap creams = very small amounts of active ingredients
Most anti-ageing products contain beneficial ingredients -- but only in tiny amounts because they're expensive, and such tiny amounts won't do any good. This means that cheap creams can make misleading anti-ageing claims. Sad to say, but the more expensive the product, the more likely it is to contain higher concentrations of the good stuff.
Time to say goodbye to crow's feet: StriVectin-SD
This is a wonder eye cream for sure and if you're interested in staving off the appearance of those lines for as long as possible, you should invest in a tube. StriVectin was originally formulated for stretch marks, but it was quickly discovered that it was playing a blinder for wrinkles too. The original formulation included aromatherapy extracts that were causing irritation to eyes. StriVectin took the oils out of the mix and a star was born. Although there's a hefty price tag on this eye cream, a little goes a very long way indeed and it lasts for a very long time.
It is most excellent: Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer
Truly, it is most excellent. You apply the deliciously fresh-smelling Curl Enhancer cream generously to wethair and allow it to dry naturally or blow-dry with a diffuser if you want more volume. Your hair will be glossy, smell great and your curls will be beautifully defined. It seems to work best on thicker hair though, so if yours is quite fine, it might not suit you.
Best mascara brand: Lancôme
Hands down, it has to be Lancôme. Virtually all of its mascaras are really good and there are products to volumise, lengthen and curl. But the two I'd single out for particular praise are Oscillation, a motorised wonder that's a whizz (geddit?) at volumising lashes, and Virtuose, brilliant for dramatic eyes.
9 Get Lippy
Lining up: Rimmel lipliner
Yes, good old Rimmel -- I've never come across a better lipliner, and if you wear lipstick or gloss every day you sure do get through them. This is an absolute winner.
It takes any new skincare regime six weeks to three months to establish itself. If you see an immediate improvement, this is because the product is increasing hydration and temporarily plumping up the skin. Any longer-lasting results will take a bit of time. Remember this before you give up any new lotions and potions because they 'don't work.'
The Beaut.ie Guide to Gorgeous, by Aisling McDermott, published by Gill & Macmillan, price €16.99