We got lots of lovely beauty products this week, thanks to a new range from Barbara Daly. Fact is, one thing that quickly goes out the window when you're a mum is skin care and make up. But those five minutes you might get to spend on yourself are precious, and can make a big difference to your day.
However, I only got to look longingly at them. The privilege of testing them out to see if they're really good value, or not, went to PlayPennies mum Helen.
This isn't just a hand cream, according to the information we were given. Barbara Daly Helping Hands (£6.75, 30ml) is a treatment serum with moisturising, soothing and protective ingredients that help to reduce dryness and diminish the appearance of fine lines. It's also described as being satin-like.
Helen found it to be the oddest hand cream she has ever used. Instead of a cream that squeezes out a tube, you get a glass bottle filled with a clear liquid. "When I first used it, I accidentally took the entire lid off, not realising that the top was actually a squirty dispenser. So I plopped a glob of the hand lotion onto my hand using the pump spatula instead. So rather than a delicate ladylike squidge, I had a manly blob on my hands."
She also found the fact that it was a serum rather than a cream a little odd and the sensation as unexpected. "Instead of the typical smoosh of cream you have a slide and a glide. And it absorbs pretty quickly too." Even though she expected it to stay oily for ages, in actual fact, "while it did take a few minutes of rubbing, it sank in quickly enough. Not as fast as some creams do, but the results is better. You have to wait longer before accessing your smartphone or iPad but your hands feel 100 percent smoother and softer each time."
So despite an unpromising start, Helen liked the hand lotion, rating it quite highly. She also thought that the price point, while expensive for a hand cream, pays off over the long term. "I have been using it daily - morning and night - for a month and it is still nowhere NEAR the middle of the bottle."
A moisturiser designed for use under foundation, as well as on its own, Barbara Daly Face Lift (£7) contains evening primrose oil and apricot, and micro refined photo-reflecting particles to illuminate the skin. According to the manufacturer, one jar is sold every nine minutes.
Sounds great but Helen's experience was a little bit more ambivalent. "Ok this I didn't get. I used it as a moisturiser and as an undercoat for base and as an undercoat for the primer but I never actually saw any face liftiness. It looked the same."
She admited that it did leave her skin feeling very soft and radiant. "But those craters, I mean, wrinkles didn't look any LESS wrinkly after a month of solid use. Sorry guys but this one didn't work for me at all. It is a nice moisturiser at a nice price point but not the kind of moisturiser that would have me elbow other people out the way if there was only one left on the shelf."
The final product Helen tested was the Barbara Daly Glow Up Highlighter (£6.75). The manufacturer describes this as a multi-reflective highlighter for both face and body. It is meant to be a non-oily so that it blends in easily to accent the brow and cheek bones, or décolleté - anywhere you choose. "It helps give the face a fresh and youthful glow, even when you’re feeling a bit tired."
Now Helen had a slight problem. She hadn't kept any of the packaging that came with products. And then she found that there's nothing on the bottles except for the logo and the name of the product.
"Now this should not be unleashed on unsuspecting make-up idiots like me. In most cases I was able to figure out what it was but this was a tricksy one. Why? Because the google search revealed that it was to highlight so yeah. What did I do? Did I carry on reading to see that it was meant to be used as an accent? No. Instead I put it on all over my face and turned to my husband. He screamed and then cried for 20 mins with laughter. I looked like C3P0, seriously. My skin had this metallic white sheen that no amount of wiping or make up could cover. I scared the neighbours, the school run and my child. Utterly mad and funny."
Fortunately she has since used it properly and says that it works. But in Moderation. Her overall verdict is that it is a good price point, creamy application and lovely on the skin. "Does leave your skin a bit oily though."
Barbara Daly Primer
The Barbara Daly Primer (RRP £10) is nowhere to be found online. I have looked, exhaustively. This is a real pity as according to Helen, the Primer is the "absolute cherry on the top, the winner, the cream of the crop".
"This primer is utterly awesome and I generally hate primers so this is saying a LOT. It slides on like silk, really it does. And you can say goodbye to those funny little dry spots that sometimes appear on your skin - with this primer they will be hidden from view." She thought her skin looked stunning after putting this on, followed by her mineral foundation. However, Helen found it does need you to have moisturised prior to application quite heavily if you have dry skin, as it tends to absorb quickly leaving a faintly dry sensation under your fingertips. And you will need to reapply after about 4-5 hours as it all sort of disappears. "You look flawless for a while but you will need to top up. I love this primer. love it. And I will buy it again in a heartbeat."
And finally ...
The entire range is, so far, really good. They offer great value for money and most of the products actually work. Possibly naming a moisturiser Face Lift is a bit ambitious and that there was no way it could live up to the name but for the price it does a fair job of keeping skin soft and dewy. The hand cream and primer are Helen's new true make-up loves that she says she will buy again. "The glow-up I will proibably avoid due to inexperienced user error and fear of being shot by Darth Vader."