Words by Adina Whyte
April 5th, 2019
We all have our ‘must-have’ beauty products that we couldn’t live without, however, most of the time it’s the likes of foundations or mascaras that are first to mind, and for good reason. But what about the tools we use on a daily basis? The ones we often forget just how much we use in our beauty upkeep? For that reason, I’m paying homage to the unsung heroes of our beauty arsenals: the OGs we often forget but never stop loving.
I honestly could not live without my eyelash curler. OK, I’m being dramatic — but I really wouldn’t go anywhere without it. If you are one of the lucky ones with naturally curled eyelashes, then maybe you won’t see the need, but for me (and many of us in maven46 HQ) this is a beauty step we will not skip. Eyelash curlers have the ability to completely open up the eyes, making you look more awake and bright-eyed, as well as prep and prime your lashes to get the most out of your chosen mascara (a ‘curling’ mascara can only do so much heavy lifting — literally).
I have extremely straight but surprisingly long lashes, especially lately thanks to the Mavala lash serum and VL Mascara, however, they are virtually undetectable face-on without my trusty eyelash curler at hand. For years I have used and loved the Tweezerman Great Grip Eyelash Curler but recently I was sent the cult-favourite Shiseido Lash Curler which has won multiple awards. Long story short, it lives up to the hype: it fits perfectly along the lash line and a gentle hold will give you the ultimate curl in a flash.
The humble hairbrush: where would we be without it? In a very knotty mess, that’s for sure. Don’t underestimate the need and power of a good hairbrush — just ask anyone getting the head yanked off them at the mercy of a bad hairbrush. The Tangle Teaser has come to many a woman’s rescue in a knot crisis; once upon a time we would consider cutting the knot out rather than face the pain of detangling, but the likes of the Tangle Teaser and Wet Brush are a step above when it comes to this. If you haven’t tried either yet, you’re missing out.
It’s time to raise your expectations of the simple hairbrush and recognise its importance in your beauty routine, whether it be for detangling purposes, adding shine like the Pro Shine Enhancer Brush (which, personally, I find great for detangling), or even for styling. Not only are hair brushes getting smarter and more innovative, but we’re even taking professional-like styling into our own hands with brush tools such as the Bro Blow CurlME Kit.
All this day-to-day styling, however, can take its toll on your hair if you’re not careful. Thankfully, a good hairbrush can lessen the damage of brushing, especially when your hair is wet and at its weakest. A high-quality natural bristle hairbrush not only brushes and smoothes hair but actually helps to add shine naturally by dispersing the sebum in your hair from root to tip, acting as a natural conditioner and thus reducing frizz and static. So, while investing in an expensive hairbrush such as the revered Mason Pearson Nylon & Boar Bristle Hair Brush may seem excessive, in the long run, your hair will thank you for it — plus, it may even negate the need for all those extra repair treatments and trips to the salon making it a win-win.
Whether you’re a beauty buff or not, a face cloth is a staple in any household, but are all created equal? Not exactly. You may view your face cloth as a simple way to wash your face, but have you really thought about what it really achieves? We all know by now about the importance of double cleansing (if wearing makeup or SPF) to make sure to rid your skin of pore-clogging dirt and oil, however, adding a good face cloth to your routine helps ensure every last trace is removed in a gentle, effective way. You’re throwing money down the drain if you expect your fancy serums to penetrate through residual dirt and makeup.
Moreover, a face cloth gives a gentle form of physical exfoliation (see more on chemical/ acid exfoliation here) and helps get the blood flowing to give you back your glow. As hinted at, face cloths are not all equal, so if you want to step up your skincare game then muslin cloths are a great option. The popularity of Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish and similar cleansing kits converted many of us to these softer forms of face cloths. Soft enough for baby’s skin, you can guarantee these light cloths will be gentle yet effective at cleansing, even around the delicate eye area.
For something a little bit more innovative than the basic washcloth, the Cleanse Off Mitt by self-professed ‘Skin Nerd’ and fellow ‘bin the wipes’ advocate, Jennifer Rock, is a hero product. Its smart looped fibres sweep makeup away without the need for a cleanser, so it’s perfect for travelling when you don’t want to carry extra products for your first cleanse. Another Irish company, Human & Kind, has a similar product, Miracle Makeup Remover, that also removes even waterproof makeup with just water. I can confirm that both of these work a treat! An added benefit of using a face cloth such as above is that you use less cotton wool pads and face wipes that go straight to landfill so it’s an easy step to being more sustainable too!
This is a staple in many women’s bathrooms, but often more as a decoration than a daily ritual (guilty as charged). I recently rediscovered my love for this handy, skin-smoothing tool after a fellow colleague wrote a piece about body brushing benefits and very quickly dumped my old dust gatherer and purchased a snazzy new one in TK Maxx. Dry brushing may seem like an added step before you shower but think of it as your daily self-love treatment.
Take an extra few minutes for yourself to relax, all the while helping exfoliate, stimulate your lymphatic system, improve circulation, and potentially even help with the appearance of cellulite. I definitely think it helps to smooth your skin but I will have to report back on the rest. One thing I can say for certain is that it is definitely therapeutic and who couldn’t use some of that?
First and foremost, let me admit that I am no expert when it comes to tanning. Unlike many of my friends who tan on a weekly basis, I have sensitive skin and hate the process of tanning so tend not to do so very often. However, when I do, the ‘gLove’ is what I reach for. I was sent one of these last year when they first launched and to say I was intrigued was an understatement. It’s the world’s first ever five-finger tanning glove and the fact that it’s an Irish brand is even better — god knows the Irish love fake tan. As someone who struggles with getting that elusive streak-free ‘natural’ tan look, this tanning glove was a game-changer.
With its soft, flexible design and five fingers, it gives you more control to reach those tricky places and achieve a flawless application. The mitt itself has a velvet texture and is super smooth on the skin. It’s made of the highest quality materials, is hand-stitched and machine washable so this isn’t your throwaway €3 drugstore mitt, this is one you’ll have for years. As mentioned, I have sensitive skin which is easily annoyed, but the gLove won’t aggravate sensitive skin as other spongey textured mitts can, but if you’ve used a velvet textured mitt before you’ll know what I mean. It’s super soft and luxurious and makes tanning much more pleasurable (this coming from someone who hates tanning, but loves being tanned all the same). If you’re looking for a beauty tool to make tanning easier, give this a go.
There you have it, my top five underrated beauty tools. Have you a newfound appreciation for your go-to beauty basics? Are these part of your beauty kit? If not, you’re really missing out.
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