Thursday, February 25, 2010

Parlux 2800 Hairdryer

Clients are always asking me how to achieve the elusive 'salon blowdry' on their hair, without the assistance of a salon:

There are a few crucial ingredients:

  1. A good haircut.
  2. A suitable styling product for your hair type.
  3. A suitable brush (e.g. paddle brush for long hair, round barrel brush for shorter hair).
  4. The manoeuvrability of an Olympic gymnast to control the darned hairdryer.
Whilst 1,2 and 3 are essentials, thankfully no.4 isn't a problem for me any more since the arrival of my new Parlux 2800 Professional Hairdryer.

I bought this dryer on the recommendation of My Lovely Hairdresser and I'm delighted to report that it is as good as she said it would be. Importantly for me, it's lightweight (my thick hair = long drying time = tiredy arms), it channels the heat beautifully (resulting in no pesky flyaway hairs) and it doesn't require a computer programmer to work it.

My only quibble was the hair-raising cost. In fairness, that's not Parlux's fault, rather my local salon supplies store who charged me over €100 for the 2800 dryer...only for me to discover it on the internet later for half the price! The same store quoted me €80 for a set of heated rollers, only for me to buy the exact same ones in Argos for €31. The lesson is to SHOP AROUND and don't get stung for high prices.

Despite paying over the odds, I'm reminded of a wise friend who once said, "I can't afford to buy cheap". As I type, my hair is bouncy, sleek and shiny - and it only took 10 minutes to achieve this look this morning with the Parlux 2800. It's a helluva dryer and would have been a bargain at double the price I paid.

Yours in style,

Primed to Perfection

Does your eye-shadow crease, despite your best blending efforts? Worse still, does it fade, slide or disappear after just a few hours? If so, you need to invest in a good eye-lid primer.

What is an eye primer?
Eye primer is a base that you apply to your eye-lids before eye-shadow. It is specifically designed to help your eye make-up to last longer, without fading, creasing or smudging.

How do I apply it?
Simply dab a small amount of product all over your eye lids and up to your brow bone, using your finger tips or a brush if you prefer. Allow the product to dry and then apply your eye-shadow as normal. Voila long-lasting make-up!


Urban Decay Eye-shadow Primer Potion: €17 for 10ml, available in Debenhams & House of Fraser. Known as the super-glue of primers, this quick-drying, silky-smooth formula grips eye-shadow like a magnet! It has a unique angled wand which makes for easy application.

Bobbi Brown Cream Shadow Stick in “Vanilla”: €24.40 for 2.5g, available in Brown Thomas, House of Fraser. This product is perfect for brides as it is incredibly long-wearing, and, more importantly, water-resistant. It’s similar in texture to a pan-stick foundation and, once applied, leaves a smooth, matte finish. Your shadow won’t budge!

Benefit Lemon Aid: €23.50 for 2.7g, available in Brown Thomas, Debenhams House of Fraser. A dab of this colour-correcting primer will have you looking awake and refreshed in seconds! It works particularly well on eyelids that have discolouration, as the yellow tone in the product neutralises any redness.

Barbara Daly Even-Smoother Eye Base: €6.95 for 2.5g, available in Tesco outlets. This skin-stoned primer is a great bargain-buy. Although it is quite light, it is still a very effective base for eye-make-up. Better still, it doubles as a light-weight concealer.

You will notice the surprising absence of Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Alas, I have contacted a number of stores (including Debenhams) who advised me that it is being phased out of their Irish stores at the moment. This is a huge pity as it is a great little product that clings to eyeshadow, without feeling clingy if that makes sense. If you know of any Irish stockists, perhaps you might post the details in the comment box below. You can always buy it on the net anyway.

Yours in style,

Monday, February 22, 2010

MACalike Brushes from Sigma

Up until very recently, I struggled to find a great brush set at an affordable price. There are some good contenders (e.g. Gosh have lovely concealer / cream shadow brushes, Jemma Kidd does a great fibre-duo brush and the No.7 foundation brush is excellent) - but I couldn't find a complete set that (a) didn't require a second mortgage, or (b) didn't contain at least 4 duds!

However, thanks to a tip off from the excellent blog, I've finally discovered a high-quality, affordable brush set from Sigma.

Sigma make-up brushes are - how can I put this delicately - well, eh, they're blatant rip-offs of MAC brushes! In fact, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between MAC brushes and their Sigma doppelgangers as they are virtually identical - same colour, same shape and same brush numbers.

"Ah, but are these MACalikes any good?"

Good? They're grrrrrrreat! I bought the 'Professional Complete Set' a month ago and I have gone all Tony the Tiger since.

Sigma earned their first 'brownie point' from me when they delivered my brushes within 4 working days (that's good going, considering they were shipped from the US).

Brownie point #2 was awarded when I opened the package to discover a host of lovely goodies, including; 15 beautifully-packaged brushes, a buttery soft leather brush roll, a handy storage bag, a guide for caring for my new brushes and a lovely brochure (pictured below).

Brownie points #3, #4 and #5 quickly followed when I discovered not one, not two, but THREE FREE GIFTS from the kind Sigmatons; a large make-up bag, a travel-sized SS217 eye-shadow blending brush and a free eye-shadow (pictured below).

Finally, brownie points #7 through #99 were issued when I discovered how wonderful these brushes were to work with and the fact that they didn't shed after cleansing!

All of this, for the bargain price of $89, which is €65 in my lingo. What a bargain!

Yours in style,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nautical, But Nice!

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable hour in the Crescent Shopping Centre in Limerick perusing the new Spring-Summer fashion collections, and, in addition to the trends du jour that I reported in my January posts, I observed 3 common denominators:

1. Very short waistcoats (a bit like bras they're so short)
2. Jeggings - and LOTS of them.
3. Long t-shirts, featuring horizontal navy and white stripes.

I'll dedicate a separate blog post to #1 and #2, but I'll concentrate on the third for now.

Curiously this theme was noticeably absent from the Spring-Summer 2010 Designer collections; yet, if you visit any high street store at the moment, you will immediately notice a dizzying array of navy+white stripey t-shirts (see example pictured left, from Dorothy Perkins). It seems that although couturiers are bored of this trend; we buyers, clearly, can't get enough of it! Preppy and resilient, it has become a perennial Summer fashion favourite amongst Irish ladies.

But does this trend suit all Irish women?

The answer very much depends on what shape you are. Remember, horizontal stripes draw the eye widthways. So, if you top half is bigger than your bottom half, this style is likely to make your top half appear bigger than it is. Horizontal striped tops, like that pictured above, best suit those who have narrow torsos, neat bustlines and narrow shoulders.

If you love the nautical trend but horizontal stripes don't suit you; look out for vertical pinstripes instead which will elongate your look.

Yours in style,

Ryan's Jewellers Wedding Event

To celebrate their 45th year in business, Ryan’s Jewellers, Roches Street, Limerick will be hosting a 2-day in-store wedding event on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th February 2010.

Ryan’s Jewellers have a spectacular range of engagement rings and wedding bands, as well as beautiful gifts for the wedding party.

Style by Caroline will be present on both days giving free make-up trials to Brides-to-Be (if I don't get too distracted by the diamonds that is!) Register for this event on-line at

Yours in style,

Monday, February 15, 2010

L'Oreal Color Appeal....Appeals to Me!

As much as I love my designer eye-shadows, nothing gives me a greater kick than finding a high-street product that gives the 'spensive brands a run for their money!

Enter, the L'Oreal Color-Appeal Trio Pro eye-shadow range, which has been created to enhance specific eye-colours. Each kit contains three shades (light, medium and dark) which are best applied with a good eye-shadow brush, rather than the sponge applicators provided. Each shadow is numbered, for fool-proof application, and there is even an instruction guide on the reverse to help you achieve a perfect look!

If you have BLUE eyes, check out the #303 Beige Taupe (review below) trio or #337 Sapphire Crystal:

If you have BROWN eyes, check out the gorgeous #333 Toffee Crystal palette, or, the #340 Plum Crystal palette which is designed for darker eyes too.

HAZEL eyes will pop with #317 Honey Brown:

And GREEN eyes look great with #319 Golden Green:

Last, but by no means least, if your eyes are GREY, the pretty pastels in #316 Platinum Rose will give a pretty warmth:

Caroline's Review:
I purchased the Beige Taupe Trio form my local Boots store about a month ago and I can honestly say it is now my most-used eyeshadow set for creating a day look! Though it is specifically designed for blue eyes, it is probably the most versatile of the selections as the shimmery champagnes will lighten and brighten any eye colour.
  • I was extremely impressed the the quality of the palette:
  • The shadows are easy to apply (always use a good eye-shadow brush and not those sponge applicators!).
  • They are highly pigmented which means that you don't have to use a tonne of product to achieve your desired look.
  • Critically, though the shadows have a subtle shimmer, the powder doesn't leave a residue on your nose/cheeks!
  • Finally, and most importantly, they are long-lasting (helped undoubtedly by the fact that I always use an eye-shadow primer under my eye make-up).
I am very pleased to recommend these eye-shadows. They are great value for money at €11.04 (price may vary depending on supplier) and this palette in particular would suit all ages.

Yours in style,

Top Tips for Long-lasting Make-up

I received a lovely email from a customer over the weekend seeking advice on how to achieve a long-lasting make-up look that (a) won't disappear, and (b) won't melt and look shiny!

As her query is a common one (especially for those attending weddings), I decided to share my advice here on the Style By Caroline Blog so that you may benefit too.

In her email, she mentioned that she was attending a Black Tie Ball that evening. Her primary worry was that her make-up tends to disappear quickly, so she wanted some products/technique recommendations, "so that I won't have to be reapplying every hour".

Caroline's Recommendations:
  • Cleanse, tone and moisturise before applying make-up. Don't forget to apply an eye-cream and lip balm too.
  • Apply your moisturiser (preferably oil-free) at least 15 minutes before starting your make-up (so it has a chance to sink in).
  • Apply a Primer underneath your foundation. (I love Laura Mercier's Oil-free Foundation Primer).
  • Choose a foundation that is suitable for your skin. If your foundation disappears quickly after application, it's quite likely that your skin is oily; therefore, I suggest that you choose an oil-free foundation.
  • Apply your foundation with a foundation brush. After application, buff the skin gently with a clean, dry, powder brush or a duo-fibre brush (like MAC's 187 Brush).
  • Apply a generous amount of clarifying powder on the areas that tend to get shiny (around nose, chin and forehead).
  • Invest in some some Blotting paper from MAC or Tesco. Blotting paper looks very like kitchen greaseproof paper (in fact, if you can't find blotting paper then greaseproof paper will do the same job). Blotting paper comes in a pack of individual sheets, each about the size of a credit card. If your face starts to look shiny, discreetly blot the oily areas with the paper, which will remove the oil/shine.
  • Carry a small amount of power with you in your handbag so that you can top up if necessary.
  • Avoid cream blush - use powder instead, which has a 'matt' effect.
  • Avoid shiny or shimmery highlighters on the face, which can make you look shiny.

I hope this information helps. Why not share your own tips, techniques and favourite products in the comment box below.

As always, if you have a Style or Make-up dilemma, get in touch and I'll do my best to help!

Yours in style,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My New Website!


The all-new is live!

It's packed with great new features, including on-line Booking + Payment of courses, a Videos page (albeit without videos, while I continue in my quest to figure out how my brand new Sony Handycam works) and a Blog* page. Plus Mr. Website Designer assures me that I will be able to upload 'na mílte' photographs so I'll have a bit of fun with that too over the coming weeks.
*" I not looking at your blog here Caroline?"

Don't worry Blogspotters, I'm going to keep this here blog going as I feel very settled over here in Blogspot. But I will duplicate the posts on so as to reel in new unsuspecting recruits over there.

Hope you like!

Yours in style,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fab Irish Style/Beauty Blogs

As well as being a devoted blogger, I'm also a devout blog follower. I often get asked what are my favourite style and make-up blogs; so, if you fancy some Friday afternoon browsing, here are my current Top 5 Irish offerings (bearing in mind that my favourites change every day!) is the queen bee of Irish beauty blogs. Winner of the 'Best Beauty Blog' in Irish Blog Awards for the past 3 years, the site is famed for witty cosmetic commentary. Although it's primarily a forum for reviewer-based beauty news / product reviews (at least 6 posts a day), the site has a loyal and friendly following, who share tonnes of advice on the beauty forums. And if that isn't enough for you, there is also a "Swap Siopa" where you can exchange your unused beauty products with other beauty junkies. is the brainchild of a great Dublin-based make-up artist who began her on-line career posting make-up tutorials on YouTube under the name DazzleDust25. Her YouTube channel quickly attracted a cult following and, naturally enough, a blog developed soon after. offers knowledgeable, witty and accessible reviews of beauty and hair products, in both written and video format. The site even features a natural soap store, retailing soaps created by Amy herself (which are ideal if you suffer from sensitive skin). is an excellent on-line resource for style and beauty aficionados. I'm not sure whether it can be counted as a blog, strictly speaking, but it is one of my favourite Irish, on-line resources. They truly have their finger on the pulse when it comes to real-time reporting of fashion news, trends and events, plus they run great competitions regularly. is a stellar fashion blog, offering great style advice from resident stylist, Ingrid Hoey, and great reviews of celebrity fashion (and how you can replicate their looks without duplicating their credit card balance).

Finally, the jewel in the crown, Dang, this girl's got style! To quote her own words, "Vulgar Moon is style for people. Real-life people". If you're into art, fashion, film and beautiful prose, then check this lass out tout de suite!

More gorgeous, stylish blogs & blogettes:

These are today's favourites although I expect that once I click "publish post" I'll realise that I have omitted some great Irish style and beauty blogs. Expect plenty of editing to this post!

Yours in style,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Clothes for Charity

May I take a moment to offer a pat on the back to my neighbour who has come up with a great way of raising money to support Irish Aid Agencies in Haiti. She is hosting a "Clothes Swap"at her home this weekend and has invited the entire neighbourhood to attend (you should see the beautiful invitations that came through each letterbox this week). Basically the premise is simple. You bring along clothes that you no longer require and you swap them for items that you prefer, for a small fee, all of which goes to the Haiti fund. The only condition, naturally, is that all clothes supplied must be laundered and of good quality.

Might be an idea worth replicating in your neighbourhood?

Yours in style,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spring Clean Your Closet

Woohoo, Spring is here! It's a beautiful morning in Co. Tipperary today; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I am about to embark on my first wardrobe Spring Clean of the year. If you're thinking along the same lines, here are a few tips to set you on your merry way;

Note: You will need at least 3 uninterrupted hours to complete a full wardrobe clear-out. Solitary confinement is required and that means no distractions whatsoever! Close the door, switch off your phone, bring a bottle of water and a snack in case you get hungry.

STEP 1 – Empty: Clear out your wardrobe and drawers and arrange the contents out, by category (e.g. clothes, underwear, shoes, jewellery etc.), on a large, open space.

STEP 2 - Try On: In front of a full-length mirror, try on all your clothes and see how/if they fit.

STEP 3 - Divide: Divide your clothes into four categories; (a) KEEP (b) ALTER/REPAIR (c) CHARITY SHOP (d) DUMP. Label a bin-bag for each category and bag accordingly. Elsewhere, if you are interested in earning a bit of cash for your troubles, you can always create a “sell on Ebay” category!

STEP 4 - Maximise Space: It's amazing how much extra space you can create in your wardrobe with a few simple solutions. Argos and Dunnes Stores both offer a great range of storage boxes, canvas shelves etc.

STEP 5 - Re-stock: Group your clothes by category i.e. keep your trousers together and the same for jeans, skirts, shirts, tops etc. Alternatively, you could group your clothes by lifestyle use e.g. work, leisure, social, formal etc. This way your clothes will be very easy to find.

STEP 6 - Hang with care: Banish all wire and plastic hangers as they destroy the shape of clothes; use wooden hangers instead. Store one item per hanger only.

STEP 7 – Shoe-care: Store footwear in an appropriate storage unit (see for some great examples). Before storing your shoes, make sure they are clean, polished, dry and ready to wear. If any shoes need to be re-soled / re-heeled, take them to a cobbler. Discard any old, worn, broken or unfashionable pairs.

STEP 9 – Jewellery: If you have a lot of costume jewellery, I recommend that you display it on a cork notice board. The best feature of this storage system is that everything is clearly visible and easily accessible.

Step 10 - Ta-dah, you're finished: Relax, put your feet up and unwind with a cup of tea and a Kit-Kat. You deserve it after all your hard work!

I've made it sound very easy haven't I! Something tells me that I mightn't sound as chirpy in 3 hours time...

Yours in style,

Is your Skin Dry, Tight, Flaky or Itchy?

If so, it's no wonder! Given that we've spent the last couple of months cooped up with the central heating on full blast, it's no wonder that our skin is parched. Now that the weather is improving, it's time to give our lacklustre skin a bit of much-needed TLC.


  • Drink at least 2 litres of water per day.
  • Cleanse, tone and moisturise your face every morning and evening.
  • Use products that are specifically designed for your age and skin type.
  • Assess your skin type every 6 months and adapt your products if necessary.
  • Always wear an SPF (minimum SPF15).
  • Avoid cleansing wipes (they're laced with alcohol and strip your skin of essential moisture).
  • Treat your skin once a week with a suitable face mask (e.g. clay mask for oily skin, moisturising mask for dry skin etc.)
  • Avoid abrasive exfoliating products; instead, gently exfoliate your skin 1-2 times a week using a small bit of cleanser on a clean, damp facecloth.


Step 1: Remove Eye Make-up
Apply a generous amount of eye make-up remover to a cotton pad and hold it to your eye for 20 seconds to disolve the eye make-up. Wipe away and repeat as necessary. Use separate clean cotton pads for each eye.

Step 2: Cleanse
Choose a cleanser that suits your skin-type (dry skin = cream cleanser, normal skin = milk cleanser, oily skin = gel cleanser). Massage the cleanser onto your skin using damp cotton pads or a damp facecloth and rinse clean with water.

Step 3: Tone
Choose a toner that suits your skin type (dry skin = rose water / non-alcohol toner, normal skin = rose water / non-alcohol toner, oily skin = alcohol toner) and apply to the face with cotton pads.

Step 4: Moisturise
Choose a moisturiser that suits your skin type (dry/normal skin = oil-based moisturiser, oily skin = oil-free moisturiser). Using your fingertips, massage your face and neck with the product.

Step 5: Eye Cream
If you are over the age of 25, you should be wearing an eye cream. Tap the product underneath the eye and outward towards the temples, very gently, using the pad of your index finger.

Step 6: Lip Balm
Apply a lip balm to your lips to prevent chapped lips.


Yours in style,