Inside the make-up bag ….with Laura Bermingham

[Kind of like ‘Through the key hole’ only with make up bags.]

All 5 products

Because we love nothing more than to have a nosy around another girls make-up bag and see all their stuff. Today we go inside the make-up bag with Laura Bermingham.

Laura is a well known beauty expert. She writes about all things beauty in the Irish Mail on Sunday and She is also no stranger to our screens and is a regular contributer on TV3 doing Ireland AM, Xpose and Midday. When she’s not doing all that or at a beauty event around the country, Laura is a busy mum.

Today Laura is opening up her make-up bag and telling us about her five favourite things.

Laura: Being a beauty journalist I see a lot of makeup. I could have a suitcase-sized makeup bag but I don’t, I keep staples for work that I can throw into my handbag, and for days off I wear very little, if anything just a touch of concealer.

I do have to examine everything, get to understand new technology and then test, to see do products live up to the hype. This is great though, because then my own beauty bag has products that deliver on what they’re supposed to do.

My top 5 favourites at the minute are:

  1. YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint, €42.
    The original of this foundation was a revelation, it give the skin radiance, good coverage but it lasted all day long without ever looking tired. A new version comes out this month, and while it still has all the radiance and long wearing abilities, it has more coverage. YSL have created a brush for applying the foundation, €42. A Y-shaped reservoir in the bristles takes a drop or two of the makeup, and with this you buff it into the skin.
    The foundation is superb though, and 22 shades are available. 
  2. Tom Ford Eye & Cheek Palette, limited edition, around €82.
    For the last few years Tom Ford has released these gorgeous eye and cheek palettes for Summer. This is 2015, the reason I love it is the versatility of the gold shade, wear it alone or pat on to another shade to give it a lift. The cheek shades are great on tanned skin, the peachy gold is a wonderful highlighter. The palettes are limited edition each year, it will be another 2-3 months before we see what’s in store for 2016. 
  3. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, €65.
    Like everyone else in beauty, I have fallen for this range big style. Charlotte Tilbury is makeup over’s makeup. If you want professional products, but also easy on-the-run beauty, she has it all. There’s too much to highlight, the new foundation, the eye shadow sticks for different eye colours, the collections curated according to a specific look, it would be hard to not want at least a dozen things. This palette is fantastic too, the bronze is almost matte for sculpting but not flat, so you can use it for adding a sun kissed touch to skin. The highlighter has shimmer particles, but only enough to create a glow. 
  4. Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Sandwash Tulle, €22.50.
    Lipstick isn’t very important to me, as long as I have some sort of definition I’m happy. I do like the combination of lip liner and gloss, this Bobbi Brown shade is the perfect rose-brown so you can any gloss shade on top. If you don’t wear lipstick it’s an easy alternative. All you do is line the lips, and fill in with the liner. For the gloss pick a matching sheer shade to boost the colour, or go for a gloss with gold hints, it can make the effect look entirely different depending what you pop on top. 
  5. MAC Blot Film, €16.50
    Best on the market for removing shine but not your makeup, if you have oily skin or just a shine prone T-zone, you will love these. The great thing about long wear foundation is that it’s water and oil-resistant. So, makeup stays put but that oil still pops through. Rather than trying to mattify it with powder try one of these instead. There are 30 sheets per pack and each sheet will last at least a day. Try these once, you’ll never be without them again.

ZO Skin Health OFFECTS Exfoliating Cleanser


This cleanser is for Normal to Oily skin. It is oil free and tackles excess oil fights breakouts. It’s a clear gel face-wash with small beads that act as a face scrub while washing. You splash skin with water and massage in the wash, rinsing off thoroughly. I can’t place what the fragrance is but I think it smells really nice.

The active ingredients include salicylic acid and ammonium lactate which are great for chemically exfoliating skin, though they are present in small amounts – so it’s unclear if the concentration is high enough to really do this. It also includes vitamin E which is an important anti-oxidant for healthy skin.

So far I really like it, I’ve been using it about a week and my skin feels and looks better. I am planning to use it in conjunction with the TE-pads and look forward to seeing the results.

I got this in Dundrum Clinic in the Dundrum Town Centre for €33. They also see online from their website:

This product is also not tested on animals!





Micronail is a new tool for manicures – basically it is a motorised smoother and buffer for nails.

On clean nails you attach the smoothing head and turn on holding against your nail to smooth out ridges and even the surface of your nail, then you attach the buffer head and repeat the process to bring you nails to a high natural shine.

It’s quick and easy to use and afterwards your nails will look and feel really good – smooth and really shiny.

I think it does what it says and that for someone that doesn’t wear nail polish it’s a great product, but I personally never feel good without polished nails, even if my natural ones look great. And while I’m sure having smoother nails will only enhance your mani I do think this product is more beneficial for people that prefer not to wear nail polish as it will make your natural nails shine beautifully.

I only use it very occasionally and have used the buffer head over my polish to bring my top coat to a high shine. But this one is definitely not a necessity for me!

You can get it online for €29.95 plus €5.50 delivery, or buy it in pharmacists (saving on delivery!).


Eve Lom cleanser

Described by Vogue as “probably the best cleanser in the world” the Eve Lom cleanser has been around for a while but it’s generally a brand out of my price range, but I kept seeing reviews and recommendations popping up everywhere so I decided to get some testers and try it out.

I did worry that it wouldn’t suit my skin and might be better for dry skin given how rich and thick it is. My skin is combination, a little oily sometimes, and can be prone to breakouts. I don’t always moisturise so cleansing is the key thing for me.

I use a harsher, more active cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid every second night or when I have a breakout and otherwise I use Liz Earle cleanse and polish (or if I’m being very lazy Garnier Micellar Water). So I have swapped out my Liz Earle with Eve Lom.

In terms of ingredients it doesn’t contain any parabens, sulfates or phthalates which is great. The consistency is a very rich balm. You massage a small amount onto dry skin and rinse off which a muslin cloth soaked in warm/hot water. Pressing the hot cloth against your face several times to open pores, wiping off product and finishing with pressing a cold cloth to your face to close pores.

It’s a lovely product to use and your skin feels great during and after – as expected, I love it. I got the smaller size pot as a Christmas present and it came with a muslin cloth but I am planning to buy another. A little does go a long way with this so I think I will get a good while out of it, but I am dreading replacing it. It is very expensive and I’m not sure it’s worth the money.

I think before you make a purchase make a trip to Space NK on Grafton St. or Harvey Nichols in Dundrum and they should give you a small pot to try first. With this kind of product especially, whether it suits you or not would very much depend on what skin type you have so make sure to get a tester before you make the purchase. I know other people with combination oily skin that it hasn’t suited.



The Konjac sponge

Konjac_Sponge_Facial_Puff_PureSo basically anything with a funny name that I’ve never heard of from Japan is usually something that I want to get and I always think it’s going to be amazing!

Naturally when I heard about the konjac sponge I thought – I’ve gotta have it. And retailing at less than €2 from ebay it really isn’t one of my most outrageous purchases, almost guilt free even!

So, what is it? I hear you say. Well, it is a sponge made from konjac root. Konjac is an asian, root vegetable and the konjac root has been a part of Japanese beauty rituals for over 1,500 years – apparently.

It is supposed to cleanse and gently exfoliate to deliver smoother, softer, brighter-looking skin.

But it’s a sponge with a difference – it feels soft and jelly-like on your face, in a good way. No scratchy-ness just super soft and nice.

When I am using a foaming facial cleanser I use the konjac sponge to massage in the product. To use it you fully immerse the sponge in warm water (when not in use it becomes dry and hard and shrivelled up but returns to normal when submerged in water), gently massage skin in a circular motion, rinse after use and hang it by the attached cotton thread to let it dry. (It is recommended to replace it every two to three months, but I may have mine a bit longer…)

The konjac root is naturally alkaline and enriched with lots of vitamins. It is gentle enough for sensitive skin.

I like mine so much I am looking for a bigger one to use on my body but haven’t found one yet – if anyone knows of where to get one leave me a comment!


Pretty products – TONYMOLY

So I have always been a total sucker for pretty packaging, and have long been a fan of EOS lip balms for primarily that reason. Why can something do its job and look cool.

When I spotted TONYMOLY products online I was totally in love with the cute and quirky products and packaging. (TONYMOLY is a Korean cosmetics company.) I had to get some things – I went to ebay and made some orders.

Here’s a mini review of what I got and some other things on my TONYMOLY lust list!

TM hand cream

TONYMOLY Magic Food Banana Hand Milk

It looks and smells like a banana – and I love bananas so that was a winner for me. Banana also has some moisturising properties and along with the other ingredients which include shea butter, milk protein extract, coconut oil and macadamia oil – it’s a lovely hydrating cream that smells yummy. Judging from the name I was worried the lotion would be really thin in consistency as it’s a milk but that isn’t the case. So I love it – it’s the perfect hand bag hand cream and I will definitely be buying it again.

31uWcwUH6eL._SY355_TONYMOLY Petite Bunny Gloss Bar in juicy apple

Each lip gloss is has a different scent and shade – not to mention a different expression on their little bunny face. I got the juicy apple shade and it’s a really pretty pink.

Generally I prefer either completely tint free lip balm or full on lipstick so it’s not my usual kind of product but I would definitely recommend for anyone that likes tinted lip balm – it’s super cute and would make a great gift.

Some other of their products I really want to try include the Pocket Bunny Sleek + Moist Mist and the Pig Collagen Sleeping Pack – and I really want the panda compact. How cute!!!


Morning Pages

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“It is impossible to write morning pages for any extended period of time without coming into content with an unexpected inner power”
Julia Cameron

I came across this great article about apps and websites that help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Of course I was intrigued as I am always looking for ways to help me stick to my new plans.

One that struck me as interesting was as journaling is always on my to do list. This helps you write on a daily basis, you set up a free account and the challenge is to write 750 words (3 pages) every day. It tracks your progress and captures some fun metrics.

It’s an easy way (for me anyway) to do the writing exercise known as Morning Pages, which involves filling three sides of paper with words each morning – it can be a rant, a stream of consciousness, anything – first thing every day. “Pages are meant to be, simply, the act of moving the hand across the page and writing whatever comes to mind” Julia Cameron

Morning Pages were created by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way (1992).

Her rules on morning pages are strict.

  1. They must be done first thing. “You’re trying to catch yourself before your ego’s defences are in place.”
  2. They must be longhand.
  3. And you must fill 3 sides of US Letter paper. That 3 pages rule is key, some days you might struggle to fill 3 pages “The second page-and-a-half comes harder, but often contains paydirt.”
  4. What you write should not be shared with anyone, or even re-read it is simply to clear your mind and start the day fresh.
  5. After three pages, you stop, to avoid “self-involvement and narcissism”.

Then, clear – you get on with your day! You don’t of course need the website to do Morning Pages. But for me it’s helping me continue with it.





#3 Spring clean your beauty blender (or other make up sponge)!

beauty-blender-singleI used to throw out my old sponges but the beauty blender is a little bit too pricey to ditch! So when I clean my brushes I also clean my beauty blender. I think sponges are a little big trickier to clean to as you can’t get inside every part like you can with a brush so you need to spend a little more time ensuring that you rinse it properly.
I know there is a special cleanser for the beauty blender but I use my old faithful baby shampoo and so far so good.

You need warm water, baby shampoo and a towel.

  1. Dampen the sponge in warm water.
  1. Rub some baby shampoo into the sponge.
  1. Massage and work into a lather.
  1. Gently squeeze under the tap rinsing and working out any last stains.
  1. Keep rinsing and squeezing the sponge until there are no more suds or traces of shampoo.
  1. When you think all the shampoo is gone, squeeze the sponge in a dry towel to remove the excess water and let it sit on a dry towel to dry out.

Happy cleaning!

For more cleaning tips check out:



#2 Spring clean your make up!


So continuing with the January cleaning vibe – if you’ve cleaned your make up brushes (check out how to clean your make up brushes) and you want to take it to the next step you can actually clean your make up too.

Bottles, bags and even compacts and lipsticks can be cleaned and it’s such a nice feeling once you’ve done it.

My make up can get really grubby over time and I know a lot of germs can build up – especially if you like to share make up with your friends, which I do!

Often a make up bag can look like it’s been through some horrible ordeal so every so often I try to do a big clear out, clean and disinfect my products and swap to a clean make up bag.

To do this you will need: warm water, vodka (pure alcohol can be bought from a chemist but vodka works as well and is something that I usually have in the house!), a small spray bottle, a shot glass, cotton buds, tissues and a clean cloth.

  1. Compacts and pressed powders
    With a dry tissue wipe off any surface direct with a dry tissue or if there are any stubborn parts a clean cotton bud and then you can spray with vodka to disinfect it and kill any germs and let it dry.
  1. Lipstick
    (This is something I probably share the most with friends on nights out.) To clean you turn your lipstick up slightly, wipe off the top layer with a tissue and then dip into a shot glass of vodka for 20 seconds, dab it lightly with a clean tissue and set it down to dry.
  1. Pencils
    For most pencils the best way to keep them fresh and clean is to sharpen them. If you are using the pencils that you don’t sharpen but retract you can wipe them with a dry tissue dip into your vodka, pat off any excess and set down and allow to fully dry.
  1. Mascara
    Mascara wands can get really clumpy with dried product building up on the wand. It’s a good idea to clean it every so often. I know it is also recommended that you replace your mascara every month or 3 months – whether your do this or not I think it is good clean your wand regularly. Pull the wand between clean tissue wiggling it up and down to remove as much product as possible, soak it in warm/hot water to try and dislodge any old product, work the bristles and when you have what you feel is a clean brush dip it in vodka, dab dry with a dry cloth and leave to dry.
  1. Eyelash curlers
    I tend to clean my eyelash curlers every time I use them because they get so dirty. I use a cotton bud and take off any mascara or eye make up stuck to them. Every so often if is a good idea to wipe them with some alcohol and replace the pads every few months.

Happy cleaning!