Beauty: gadgets
‘Once in a while, a gadget is so amazingly effective that it would be downright remiss of me not to share’

I’m always circumspect in recommending beauty gadgets here, particularly when they’re very expensive. I hate the idea of anyone spending their hard-earned cash on some bulky piece of plastic they use once, then send to the attic to live with the ice-cream maker and banana hanger. But once in a while, a gadget is so amazingly effective that it would be downright remiss of me not to share.

The Tria Acne Clearing Blue Light (£229) is for anyone who suffers from worse-than-average skin breakouts (I wouldn’t recommend it if you get a couple of hormonal spots every month). Every morning, hold the unit on to a clean complexion and it automatically switches on for the required five-minute treatment, then shuts off. Tria claims the unit works by killing deep-down spot-causing bacteria with a non-UV blue light (safe on any skin, male or female).

Sceptical, I asked two friends to try it for me: one had been suffering from uninterrupted acne breakouts all over her chin and lower cheeks for many years. The other experienced about a dozen bad, painful spots a month. I told them both to give Tria two months and get back to me, but neither could wait even a fortnight to tell me it had improved their skin dramatically. The spots have become either slight and sporadic or gone altogether. No irritation had occurred (I’ve tried the unit on my own skin and can personally vouch for this part). “But it costs fortunes,” I said. “Is it a nice to have, or a need to have?” “Only another acne sufferer will understand when I say I’d sooner go without a washing machine or oven than go back,” one replied. Both felt that no longer needing to consider strong medications outweighed the significant cost (though always check with your GP).

If acne’s not your problem, or you think the Tria is too rich for your blood, my other new favourite gadget is the Barely Definer Sponge Soft (£9.99), which has single-handedly cured me of a lifelong loathing of makeup sponges. Just dampen, stroke in any foundation or concealer – powder, liquid, cream or gel – and bounce repeatedly on to the complexion. It gives extraordinarily good coverage, saves noticeably on product and, unlike others, doesn’t start smelling like a caretaker’s mop.