Showing posts with label Bobbi Brown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobbi Brown. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Fall Transition Makeup Bag


As we transition to the fall season I feel a shift in my mood for makeup to cooler tones and my fragrance preference has changed for deeper more complex kinds of scents. I always look forward to new launches and beauty trends for fall and this season has brought quite a few smaller mini collections rather than color-themed launches (with a few exceptions). There doesn't appear to be any "it" color this season and if right now you're unsure of what to wear for the upcoming fall season I say go for anything! I really don't think you can go wrong with any color this season whether it's shopping your own stash or adding a new lip or nail color. Mauves and plums will always be a classic go-to for the fall and will be wearable all the way through winter. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to round up some of my favorite timeless and classic colors. If you can't wear purplish plums on the lips or cheeks, you may want to opt for light to neutral mauves or reddish plums which I feel are easier to pull off.

Since everyone has different interests and preferences for what they like in beauty, I've split the beauty recommendations by category for lips, cheeks, nails, eyes and fragrance. Many of you have asked for a full dedicated feature on fall fragrance for perfumes and one for home fragrance - I promise to have one on each very soon! I'm testing a few more items and will hope to have reviews over the next two weeks.


Up first are the lip recommendations, my personal favorite. Quite a few of you have asked for neutral light pink-mauve lip recommendations for colors that won't turn too blue or fuchsia on the lips. I have a wide range from light to deep that I like.


Shown above:
  1. MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande II Lipglass is a really pretty soft neutral mauve lipglass. It has a tiny bit of shimmer and looks very natural on the lips.
  2. MAC Lipstick in Modesty has been a classic light pink mauve lip color. It's similar to Syrup which is another very pretty color. Modesty has a bit more warmth with more pink. The coverage is more opaque as well. They're very close - some of my friends have told me they can't wear Syrup because it's a bit too cool toned, in that case opt for Modesty!
  3. Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector #07 is a sheer tinted balm. It's also a light mauve color and the formula is a really good one to add a hint of color + hydration.
  4. Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Colors are relatively new to me. I discovered them this year and Bobbi is one of the newest shades that is a grege-beige color that doesn't wash me out. It's creamy and gives the lips full coverage with one swipe.
  5. Diptyque repackaged their Nourishing Lip Balm in tube format this season. It has a nicely hydrating formula that's thick and coats the lips with a veil of moisture. In terms of clear squeeze tube balms I think the AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is still my favorite for sensitive lips that can't tolerate scent. Both are very good though.
  6. Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector #08 is a pretty warm deep plum red. Finish is sheer to medium. The color is deeper and brighter than the rest of the shades in the formula so this shows up better on the lips.
  7. Bobbi Brown Nourishing Lip Color in Desert Rose is a super creamy rose berry kind of shade. It's a lush full coverage formula and very comforting on the lips. 
  8. Chanel Rouge Allure Ink just launched in eight shades. Most are very bright and vibrant - I bought the only neutral which isn't plum or mauve. Amoureux is a pinky peach color. The verdict is still out on this one. I'll have a more detailed review soon but for now below is a sneak preview swatch.
  9. Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo in Recit is one of the prettiest plum reds I've tried before. This formula is excellent and I highly recommend it. All the shades are phenomenal in that range.
  10. Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color in Neutral Rose is one of the most classic kinds of warm pink rose colors I can think of.


Next are cheeks. I'm sure by now many of you are already well stocked on plums or mauves for lips. For me finding a coordinating cheek color has been tricky. I used to always gravitate towards peaches, corals or bronze for the cheeks for the summer and finding a good versatile cheek color to go with any variation of plum/mauve was tricky but I have managed to find three.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure is one I find goes well with the lighter mauve lips or darker lips. For something a bit more neutral with brown and pink mixed in is Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic in Sex on Fire. It has the prettiest soft glow to it (not overly shimmery) so it wears very naturally on the skin while adding color and depth. MAC Blush in Plum Foolery is a classic shimmery plum. The gold shimmer adds an interesting warmth to the skin which I find naturally flattering. In the event you don't do shimmer on the cheeks, you may want to check out MAC Breath of Plum for a matte version.

For a good natural highlight and contour, I don't think it gets more classic than the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow. It goes with everything for me and I love the packaging. The texture is really soft and blendable so it won't give you a harsh contoured look or sharp frost.



For eyes I love a good neutral shimmer whether it's tan, taupe, pink or bronze. Two favorites have been the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows in Himalia (tan) and Telesto (bronze). For fall NARS launched a shimmery warm pink Rigel. These work well as an easy all over wash to brighten the eyes. Mascara wise I've raved about the Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara. I just bought a second tube for my on-the-go makeup bag. It thickens, volumizes, holds the curl and doesn't smudge. It has a big fluffy brush which grabs my skimpy lashes and coats them evenly. I'm so glad I discovered it! Lash curling is always a must and I still find that the MAC Full Lash Curler has been performing really well for my eye shape.


Three shades shown above swatched below alongside a few other colors:


For nails I have yet to see an "it" polish color for fall. I think the two classics you can never go wrong with are a good vamp in which case Chanel Vamp is a classic or a classic nude pink. For me the two best neutral nude pinks are Chanel Organdi or Tom Ford Sugar Dune (paler on me). A new dark almost-black shade called Gris Obscur launched with the Lip Inks. I spotted it in store at counters so it should be available online very soon.



Last but not least are a few fragrances. As mentioned above I'll have a full fall fragrance line up but these are three I'll be transitioning from season to season. First is the Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb which I still think is the perfect date night fragrance and the one my husband loves the most on me. It's one I consider very mainstream but one I think is just so so good in a spicy floral kind of way. I love that the Travel Spray version is indeed a spritzer versus the roller-ball format. Replica Lipstick On is one of the prettiest feminine fragrances that smells like vintage makeup. It's hard to describe in words except that it makes me feel girly without having that overly sweet smell. Le Labo Santal is one I recognize instantly on anyone who wears it whether they are male or female. I actually prefer it in candle form for the home but I love all things with any kind of sandalwood in them. 


What colors and scents are you wearing right now as we transition to fall? Are you embracing any on trend makeup shades or wearing classics? There are lots of great new fall beauty launches and each one has been unique in it's own way.

Would love to hear what you're keeping in your fall transition makeup bag or routine right now! For more recommendations Nordstrom has their Fall Beauty Trend Event section with Ultra Pretty Neutrals and Bold Shades of what is trending now at their stores.



Many thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. Press samples featured include the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors, Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo, Chanel Vamp and Organdi and Replica Lipstick On.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Beauty and Skincare Favorites


1   /   2   /   3   /   4   /   5   /   6   /   7    /
8   /   9   /   10   /  11  /  12  /  13  /  14   /  15

Quite a few of you have asked that I bring back my monthly favorites roundups so I have one for you today. Many of you like the rotation and roundup kind of posts, I still have the nail/hand care, foundation, hair styling and skincare ones in the work. For those who can't wait I'll say that my top three favorite foundations still remain the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (still Groenland + St. Moritz mixed), Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (I use 125/Y315, all shades also available online in this value set now) and the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (my best match is 123/Y365).

Onto my favorites for this month which was difficult for me to narrow down. I'm still enjoying these Molton Brown mini hand washes and these lip treatments. In addition these liquid lips are really very good. I have managed to narrow down a list of my top favorites for this past month though even though a lot of loves have gone unmentioned:
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows have been in heavy rotation because of their silky smooth texture, rich pigment, blendable finish and easy to wear shades. You can pick and choose your own colors to create quads, the one shown above has Sateen, Chiffon, Warm Taupe and Chocolate. To date I've accumulated quite a few you can see swatched here and here.
  2. Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara is something I discovered in a set from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I love this because it thickens, volumizes and holds the curl. It also looks super dark on the lashes. I will repurchase this.
  3. Dior Vernis in Minimal (c/o) is my current perfect pale polished nude. Review + swatch here.
  4. Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder (c/o) is relatively new to me but it is hands down the most naturally luminous highlighter I've tried this year (out of the new ones launched this year). I think it's a must, swatches here.
  5. Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped is one of the prettiest palettes I think I've seen in a while. If you don't mind a good shimmer this is a great one for eyes and cheeks. I like mixing and swirling colors before applying to the eyes. Review + swatches here.
  6. MAC Eyelash Curler is something I picked up recently and was pleasantly surprised. My go-to Chanel lash curlers have seen better days after years of use and I don't think they're carried in the US anymore. The one from MAC comes in close second for my eye shape.
  7. Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o) best nude for me right now (actually since April of this year). You can see it swatched on my lips in this post here.
  8. Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss in French Lace is a pretty soft pink. All of his lip glosses reviewed in this post here.
  9. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kidman's Kiss (shown) and Super Cindy are both pretty close neutral peachy colors, I think the entire Hot Lips Lipsticks have been a knock out success, especially for those who like matte lips (she has the best matte lipstick formula in my opinion). The entire launch reviewed and swatched here.
  10. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude are my most reached for liners. Pillow Talk is a deeper pinky color while Iconic Nude is a brown nude. Both swatched here.
  11. Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo wins for best shampoo to clean the hair well with a squeaky clean feel but won't dry out the hair. It has a mild but fresh beachy kind of scent. Leaves the hair feeling soft and fluffy (but not frizzy). Even my husband likes it. September beauty events are just around the corner. I recommend putting this on your shopping list. I will repurchase this.
  12. Bumble and Bumble Surf Conditioner also is a winner. I rarely am in love with both shampoo and conditioners of the same formula/brand and typically have to mix and match. This combo is pure love. More in this review here.
  13. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel (c/o) is something I received earlier in the spring. It took me a long time to get into testing this because frankly I don't like face gels. They're often sticky or tacky and just don't absorb well into my skin. This one does indeed have a gel like consistency but if you massage it into the skin it melds in nicely and doesn't leave a film like other brands. I've been alternating this with Kate Somerville Nourish, both of which are lightweight for warmer weather. Neither will get greasy but have enough for my normal-combination skin. They wear very well under foundation too. The Pore Perfecting Water Gel is also available in a mini travel size. I love the packaging, the pump and the way it feels on the skin. Huge thumbs up. It also helps to smooth out pores.
  14. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask remains my tried and true clarifying mask that is gentle, even when my skin has flare ups. It sucks up excess dirt and oil. I have finally lost count of how many tubes I've bought and used up.
  15. Kate Somerville RetAsphere™ Micro Peel (c/o) is a leave-on treatment for night that helps with skin uneveness and really works to improve texture. It's very gentle but I use it once a week. It's a micro-peel that infuses skin with retinol with 10% glycolic acid and lactose to help resurface skin. Out of all the skincare lines I've tried, I feel that Kate Somerville has truly been one of the game changers for my skin as I transitioned from my 20's to 30's. During that transition I went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered a lot with texture issues and repeated break outs. While I've worked to manage the stress, finding the right skincare has played a major role in improving texture. I've tried so many lines and out of all the ones I have tried, Kate Somerville all around has worked the best for me. I don't use a night treatment every night because I sometimes just want to let the skin breathe. The RetAsphere™ 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream is one of the best most gentle yet effective night treatments I alternate with the Micro-Peel. The Micro-Peel makes the favorites list though because just using this once a week has improved my skin texture tremendously.
What are you loving right now? Do you have any favorites from the past month? As always I love reading about what you've tried, love and recommend. Even if something you tried hasn't worked for you, I still love reading about those experiences as well. Are there any colors or collections you've been smitten with as we transition to fall beauty?

Press samples featured indicated with a "c/o". As always all opinions my own.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer Hauls from Sephora and Nordstrom + eGift Card Giveaway


Happy Friday everyone! In the "what would you like to see" survey posted a few giveaways ago, an overwhelming number of you requested I do more haul posts. I tend to buy things in little bits here and there - with free shipping or affordable rush shipping, it's easy to place several orders as I think about things rather than do a larger one-time haul. Sometimes I'll see something in store and decide to wait and think about it and then a few days later I decide to buy it. July was a very pricey and spendy month due to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I already did two haul posts on my picks (here and here) - since it only happens once a year and there were so many good exclusives/value sets I could justify the extra haul. I also found a lot of little things at Sephora so I've combined my recent picks into a haul post.

Up first are Nordstrom picks, some are non-sale items:


My Nordstrom hauls, mostly from online orders:
  1. Antica Farmacista Santorini Reed Diffuser - I discovered the Acqua Reed Diffuser as shown in this home luxuries post and fell in love. Several of you told me there were a number of options on sale at Nordstrom. I bought five variations of the 8.5 oz version. I haven't opened any of them yet - for those who use these, do you use one at a time completely before opening another one? Unlike candles, I suspect you can use for a little bit and store away since the reeds become completely soaked with the oils?
  2. Antica Farmacista Reed Diffuser in Bergamot and Ocean Aria because I love the body cream version of this scent.
  3. Ivanka Trump Ellyn Lace Up Sandals in Rich Chestnut suede are super comfortable and I found them to be true to size. The color is just a tiny bit darker than the stock photo but very close, heel is at 2.5 inches which makes them easy to walk in and 100% pain-free (at least for me).
  4. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Telluride is actually something I ordered from Sephora, but accidentally put it with the Nordstrom haul, it's a luminous soft pink with a very pearly finish, full review next week.
  5. Louboutin Loubilaque in Akenana and Bikini (not on sale), based on the good performance I saw with the Rouge Louboutin Loubilaque, I decided to order a few other shades, I haven't tested them on my lips yet because I swatched a number of other lip products the past couple of days and one item ruined my lips so I'm waiting for them to rebalance/recover.
  6. YSL Vinyl Lip Cream in 404, 407 and 412 are items I was really excited to try. I adore the Glossy Stains (reviewed here and here) and a cream version just sounded like a dream come true. 407 and 412 worked perfectly like a lightweight stain but in creamy form. 404 gave me a WTF moment - it was extremely streaky and for some reason turned my bottom lip bright red, almost like a reaction but there was no tingle, sting or odd feeling. It's now about 24 hours after I lip swatched it and my lip is still red. I tried makeup remover, cleanser and a very gentle rub with a washcloth - it's the oddest thing!
  7. Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer is something I stalked the web for the anniversary sale, it went out of stock in Size 0 and 2 but restocked. I've been searching for a white blazer for a long time and this has a drapey flowy fabric that feels comfortable. It's a tiny bit long in the arms for me, but fits the shoulders well - it will need minor alterations for me, but I really like it.
  8. Vince Camuto Feina Booties are items I ordered as well, my local store was sold out, but they found them for me and had them shipped to my home. This is the first time I've tried Vince Camuto boots so I don't know how they size compared to other styles. The sales associate recommended I size down since in her experience they run big. Size 6 fits like a glove with room for thin socks.
  9. Hudson Nico Ankle Super Skinny Jeans are very comfortable and they fit like a glove. The fabric is thick enough to be sturdy but not stiff so these feel good to wear. I'm normally one who opts for Paige, but I was really pleased with these. The raw hem gives them an edgy look. As one who is short, these are the perfect length that I don't need them hemmed.
A look at the Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer (Size 2, for reference I'm 5'3" and 125 pounds) and Hudson Nico Ankle Jeans (Size 27, sized the same as Paige and Citizens, I go up for Frame with 28s).

More views on the blazer, for those curious about the home bits, bed is from Crate and Barrel, rug is from Pottery Barn, on the far right the reflection of the white block is an Ikea Alex unit.


Shoes, left are the Ivanka Trump Ellyn Sandals, true to size 6.5, right are the Vince Camuto Feina Booties which I bought in a 6 based on the sales associate's recommendation that they stretch out.


One more look at the Hudson Nico Jeans (top is an older style silk tee from J.Crew, shoes worn are by Stuart Weitzman which run large on me so I take these in a 6):


Up next are the Sephora haul picks:


Shown above:
  1. Sephora Play! July box contents includes minis of Benefit Dew the Hoola, Ouai Wave Spray, Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, NEST Citrine Perfume and Beautyblender Blottertazzi, I have yet to try everything in last month's box, but Dew the Hoola is swatched here
  2. Urban Decay 24-7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Peyote is a cool-toned neutral pink with a tiny bit of shimmer, it's a great light pinky color that does last a long time
  3. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Strip is a medium nude pink beige - finally balmy glossy lipsticks that have pigment! I picked up two shades (yes, they look almost identical) and love love love the way these feel and look, they're effortless kinds of nude with the feel of Chanel Rouge Coco Shines but more pigment.
  4. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Trance is a gorgeous pinky mauve shimmer, formula feels a bit thick and dry without a base but it does stay put on the lips, I'll need to experiment more with bases on this one. It's not drying, it just looks a bit dry if that makes sense.
  5. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Honeybun is a nude beige tan cream.
  6. Formula X Color Curators in Makeup by Rose XOXO Edition in Mahhveous Rose, Puffin! and Acoustick Dreams, these look gorgeous for fall, I'll have swatches of all three shades soon.
  7. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation in Nude which is one shade darker than Warm Ivory but too dark for my skintone. Warm Ivory is a better match, but if I mix both shades the match is a 100% exact match.
  8. Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer in M19 and M27 - I matched myself in store and can't believe I braved using a tester on my face in store. When I applied it my skin was a bit dewy as it was late afternoon and hot. It blended to a flawless finish so I bought two shades. When I got home and tested it the following days I found it looked cakey and patchy under eyes on my regular skin. I'm still testing with other eye creams and primers as a base to see how best to make it work. I'm not ruling it out quite yet, I'm determined to put it to the full test as I really like her foundation.
  9. Becca Champagne Splits in Flowerchild and Champagne Pop - by this point I have Champagne Pop in all the forms possible and I do think it's a bit overkill. The individual powder and poured cream (both swatched here) are my favorites. I definitely did not need it in a split pan with a blush, but what can I say - I think we all get sucked in sometimes by pretty packaging.
  10. NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos in all three options, review to follow as soon as I can!
  11. Formula X The System Xcel is something that just popped up online, I already own and use the original System (reviewed here a while ago), the Xcel set is designed for a gel-effect so I'm curious to see how it compares to the original!
  12. Beauty Insider Points minis
Lip picks swatched:


I won't be reviewing everything in this haul in a separate posts, so here are lip swatches for reference. The Bare Minerals GEN Nude Matte Liquid Lipstick in Swag was one of the Beauty Insider minis (love the color, not a fan of the matte finish). Above Bare Minerals Strip and Honeybun look identical, on the lips you can see the difference. If you click to enlarge the photo you can see how patchy YSL 404 applied on my lips, especially on the lower lip.


All the Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer shades swatched, if you're NARS Ginger the closest match is M25 and M27:



That concludes my haul picks from July from Nordstrom and Sephora. There are still a few more days left for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (prices go back up Aug 8th). I'm hosting one last giveaway for the summer and giving away three $100 eGift Cards. The selected winners will have a choice of getting an e-gift card to either Nordstrom or Sephora. Details:

Enter via the widget below, there are several ways to enter:
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open internationally
  • Three distinct winners will be selected at random via Rafflecopter
  • Winners will be selected at random on Sunday afternoon and contacted via e-mail by me
  • If you're a selected winner you must send me a response confirming within 48 hours or another winner will be selected, prizes will be sent by the following business day

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2016 Beauty Exclusives Haul


The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year has quite a lot to offer for beauty exclusives. I've been a busy bee all weekend swatching and photographing my haul and today I have close ups and swatches of the palettes and sets I picked up. Early access goes through the end of 7/21 for card holders and the sale goes live for the public on 7/22. This beauty haul is quite extensive so grab a cup of tea or coffee or maybe a snack. While browsing the Beauty Exclusives section I noticed quite a few items weren't available at stores near me so I ordered a couple items sight unseen. For those who can't get to a store and need to order online I feel your pain about not being able to see things in person, I hope these swatches help! Don't forget to check out the Gift With Purchase listings too, there are some nice gifts available, I'm glad I checked for the La Mer and Hourglass gifts.

First a quick look at the Early Access Sections in store, walls of skincare from a wide range of brands. Skincare sets this year are priced at really good values/savings.


A look at some of the gift with purchase sets (full list online), there are some lines that give you options to choose from with different sets:


If you've been wanting to splurge on a Clarisonic, the sale is one of the best times to do so because they offer them at a discount. The Mia Fit is marked down to $153 from $219. The Alpha Fit for men is also marked down to $153. My husband loves his and recommended I buy another one for my brother.



Onto my haul picks. In this post I've focused primarily on the makeup and palettes. I did pick out a few hair care items and skincare sets, I'll post those in a separate post if you're interested so let me know in the comments. Bobbi Brown has several Bobbi On Trend Sets. It's been a while since I've explored her line but the options were too good to pass up.

The Sultry Bronze Eye Set has an eyeshadow palette with 6 colors (Pale Cream, Bikini Bronze Metallic, Seashell Shimmer Wash, Beach Bronze Shimmer Wash, Frappe and Smokey Brown), Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Chocolate Truffle, and Eye Opening Mascara in Black. The palette has 6 easy to use neutrals and the eyeliner is a nice alternative to black. I had low expectations for the mascara because I usually do not like mascaras in sets, but I was beyond impressed. It volumizes, thickens, defines and did not smudge all day. Thumbs up! There is a cooler-neutral toned option called Sultry Topaz which is also very pretty.

For lips there are two options Pink Lips Set and Nude Lips Set. I picked out the Nudes which has her Art Stick in Brown Berry (neutral nude peach), Sheer Lip Color in Pink Buff (perfect neutral pink) and Lip Gloss in Pink Sunset (sheer sparkling pink). I have lip swatches of all the lip items I picked out at the bottom of the post. Many of you like the lips lined up side by side for reference.



Charlotte Tilbury launched an exclusive Instant Look in a Palette called the Seductive Beauty for what she calls The Dolce Vita Look with deeper shades compared to her original. I was not impressed with the first one and found it sheer and chalky for my complexion. I am happy to report the Nordstrom Exclusive is a lot better, shows up on my skintone and is not chalky at all. The texture has the same softness for the powders but pigment is significantly better. The Nordstrom set comes with a mini mascara.
 The Nordstrom Seductive Look Palette:


Original Natural Look vs Nordstrom Seductive Look swatched side by side:


Diptyque has the cutest 5-piece set available for the sale. These are the baby sized candles you can't purchase individually in the 1.2 oz size (these are smaller than the 2.4 oz versions). This is the perfect way to try the line as it has the best Diptyque scents available. It would also make a great hostess gift.

Hourglass has launched an exclusive palette called the Ambient Luminous Light Palette which has Luminous Light, Luminous Flush and Luminous Bronze Light. I already own the shades individually but could not pass on the set because it's perfect for travel. There is a gift with purchase I took advantage of (I ordered 3 palettes, one for myself, two as gifts).

Palette swatched next to the individual colors I own to show that the colors in the palette are indeed the same color, pigment and quality as the individual ones:


NARS has quite a few options for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale including Survival Kit 1, Survival Kit 2, Nordstrom's Best Cheek Kit and the Cult Survival Kit. All the sets are seriously good - it as really hard to narrow down my pick given all options. I picked out the Survival Kit 1 which has Naiad Eyeshadow, Kalahari II Eyeshadow, Off Limits Blush, Mata Hari Blush, a mini Lip Gloss in Party Girl and a mini Audacious Mascara. This set is the most neutral and easy to wear option. Outer Limits Blush looked very shimmery upon first swipe on my face, but adding the matte Mata Hari on top softened the frost in a nice way.



YSL Rebel Nudes has three lip products in a black zip pouch. I actually already own all three items in the set but a friend asked me to pick it up for her as she was worried it would be sold out by the time the public sale started. I swatched the colors from my own stash, I think this set is a really good one. It has Glossy Stain in 200 Plump Up (clear which does plump and tingle), Glossy Stain 07 Corail Aquatique which pulls a brighter peach on my lips, and Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick 47 Beige Blouse which is one of my favorite pink nudes for everyday.


Nordstrom has an exclusive Dior Anniversary Collection that seems to be more spring-like rather than summer or fall. The offerings are still really pretty. I picked up three of the Flash Luminizer Radiance Booster Pens in 003 Apricot (my match) and two of the shimmers in 500 Pearly Vanilla (gold) and 800 Pearly Pink (shimmering opal). These take about 40 clicks to get product going the first round (just as an FYI). I have only tested for a few days so I can't say yet if I think they are worth the splurge. I do like 003 under eyes as a medium coverage brightening under eye concealer. The shimmers help add radiance anywhere you want a soft glowy shimmer.

There is a new Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipstick which is the first time I've tried the new formula. Baby Dior is a sheer peachy pink in the tube but applies a sheer pale cool pink on my lips. It's hydrating and smooth with a glossy finish.

There are also two nail colors in the collection in Ruban and Steel Grey. I was hoping to swatch these on the nail for you but I just broke three of my nails so arm swatches will have to do for now.


Last but not least are two options from MAC. First is the C'est Chic Eyeshadow Palette which I am seriously tempted to buy for myself. The one I have shown below is a gift for a friend (her birthday is this month) and it has all mattes in neutral to warms and plums. She saw this and asked for it specifically. The one MAC set I picked up for myself is the Look in a Box Sunblessed Kit which has a full sized Frost Eyeshadow in Deception (plum taupe), Fluidline in Blacktrack, False Lashes Mascara and Cremesheen in Sunblessed (peachy nude). I think all four items in the set are excellent, the mascara doesn't really give me a false lash look, but it's a good defining deepening mascara that adds a bit of volume and doesn't smudge. I believe the eyeshadow and lipstick are exclusive to the set.

Lip swatches:


That wraps it up for my massive Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Haul! I hope you found the swatches and detailed photos helpful to help with your shopping decisions. Definitely browse the options online first, especially the gift with purchase options. I think I missed out on a few because I didn't realize there was a Bobbi Brown GWP available and my sales associate did not know either. There is a lot to choose from and these sets and savings are offered only once each year.

I'm really impressed with the offerings this year and am pleased with all my purchases. Out of all the color options for makeup, I think you really can't go wrong with anything. Lots of value sets to pick from. My top 3 favorite items I hauled include the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette Set, Bobbi Brown on Trend Nude Lip Set and Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette. If I did not already own all the lip items in the YSL set, the Rebel Nudes set would also be added to my favorites list.

Have you shopped the sale for early access yet? What did you haul? Or are you waiting for the public sale on the 22nd? Let me know in the comments!



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. All items selected and purchased by me.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Inside My Bag


February flew by so quickly, I cannot believe it's March but I'm excited for spring. I've been working my way through swatching all of the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks and hope to have the post up by the end of the week (fingers crossed my lips can handle the swatching). A few of you have asked for a review of my Celine mini belt bags (seen here and here) - I haven't really done purse or accessory reviews but will definitely do one on both in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!

Here's a peek of what I have in my bag right now. I've been loving my Prada Saffiano still - I think I've had it going on 2.5+ years now and it's held it's shape remarkably well, hasn't shown any signs of wear or scratches and is extremely versatile for a number of different occasions and outfits. I've had my eye on the Saffiano Cuir Double Bag in black ever since I saw that they started carrying a small one on Extra Petite. She has a really good review and comparison (although my camel tote is a different style and has different dimensions compared to hers). It takes me months to decide on a splurge - I've been looking for a classic black leather tote for a long time, but cannot make up my mind because size and structure is really important to me.

Inside my Saffiano Tote this week:
What's in your bag this week? Any new beauty discoveries from the weekend?

Press samples featured include the Tatcha beauty papers and Truffle clutch+case.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Winter Skin Savers: Face Masks for Every Need


Today I'm chatting with you about the face masks I have in rotation right now. Winter weather usually means my skin starts to feels dry or lacking in luster and the best way to help improve my skin's texture, clarity and the way it feels in general is by using weekly mask treatments. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of 12 masks which include a mix of tried and true treatments along with a few new discoveries. I'm obsessed with masks in general - I often use them 2x per week, sometimes I mix it up depending on how my skin feels at a specific time.

First, a bit of background. When it comes to masks, or with any skincare in general, I would say recommendations depend on your skin type and what kind of treatment you're looking for. I've split up my recommendations into four main categories: 1) lift and firm, 2) moisturize, 3) clarify/purify and 4) boost radiance. I've put 12 to the test to see how they hold up for my sensitive skin and super sensitive nose. In terms of types, I love a good sheet mask, but for today I've rounded up the kind you apply, leave on for 5-15 minutes and rinse off. The traditional apply-then-rinse-off kind is what I prefer, they are easy and fun to apply and I like the whole process of rinsing with water for that squeaky clean feeling.



Up first are two lifting and firming face masks. I'll start with the best face mask I have ever tried which is the the La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask ($245 for 1.7 oz/50 ml). I was lucky to find a mini sample of this one during a gift with purchase event and it was pure love the first time I tried it. This is the most I've ever splurged on a mask, but it's one of those skincare products I tested and immediately thought, "oh my god this is amazing." It comes in a large tub with a brush applicator. I'm relatively new to using brushes to apply masks but after testing a few, I think I kinda like it. With this mask, skin feels ultra soft after using it. It's formulated to tighten, firm and refine the face and neck although I've only tested this on the face so far. Skin does indeed look and feel noticeably firmer after using this. Fine lines are minimized. After using this you can feel the moisture without any greasy feel and the skin glows. I would call this one life changing and at the high price I think it should be. It's a luxurious splurge but worth every penny. I don't think I've ever been so in love with a skincare product in my life.

Another good firming mask is the Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($70 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is formulated to lift, smooth, brighten and tighten pores. It sounds like an all-in-one kind of mask and I think it works wonders to lift and plump the skin. This one needs a very thin layer, if you apply too much it won't dry properly and will be difficult to wash off. This one is heavily fragranced so it won't be everyone's cup of tea. I don't mind the scent (I find it pleasant and unique). After using it skin feels smooth and lifted. The skin glows and looks noticeably brighter after using it. I noticed redness was reduced drastically. It does shrink pores around the nose area too. If you want a sampler of her skincare (trial or travel size) you can still find the mask in her Red Carpet Skin Set ($85) or the Gift of Goddess Skin Trio ($59) and the sizes seem large enough to get several uses out of the tubes.


Next are masks for an added moisture boost. My favorite gentle moisturizing mask is the Caudalie Moisturizing Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is a game changer for me, most moisturizing masks are too heavy or leave the skin feeling too glowy so for moisture I prefer sheet masks. For a more traditional mask, this one adds enough moisture to soothe dry skin and makes it glow without the heavy feel. It has the most wonderful refreshing clean scent making it feel extra nice. It also works really well to help calm irritated skin and reduce redness. I really like Caudalie for the gentle but effective skincare.

Bobbi Brown just launched new face masks. I bought the Mini Mask Trio ($20 for 3 minis each .24 fl oz/7 ml) which comes with super tiny tubes. For these I was able to get 2 uses out of each one which is enough to get a sense of how it will feel on the skin, but not quite enough to get a true sense of how it will perform. The moisturizing option is the Skin Nourish Mask ($47 for the full size). It has an ultra smooth almost gel-like texture. It has coral grass and green algae to help boost collagen production and smooth the skin. I felt it did smooth and sooth the skin. Given the fact that I already have some other favorites for moisture masks, I'm not sure I will purchase the full size.

My second most favorite moisture mask is the Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz/50 g). This one smells delicious (I almost want to eat it). It adds the most moisture to my skin out of all the masks I've tried. It helps reduce any flaky areas or patches. It can tingle a little but it's not too strong. If you're super sensitive to tingle or scent, you might want to skip this one and opt for the Bobbi Brown instead which is more gentle but still adds moisture.



Next up are some clarifying and purifying options. This type is my favorite kind of mask to use but many purifying/detox masks can be really strong and end up drying out my skin. Some dry my skin so much it leaves my face red afterwards and flaky by the next day. My newest discovery is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask ($54 for 60 ml/2 fl oz). This was used on me during a facial, my aesthetician mentioned that a lot of her clients had been raving about it. I saw really good results from my facial so I bought this the very next week. It's part of the anti-acne line and normally these kinds of products are too strong for my skin, but this one is pretty gentle. It's foam activated so you apply it to your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. It starts to foam as it works and removes impurities. It tingles slightly as it foams up but does not sting (and I'm a huge wimp when it comes to skincare that tingles). It contains colloidal sulfur which helps reduce redness (it really works wonders in this area) and reduce acne. I highly recommend it.

Caudalie of course is on the list for favorites. The Purifying Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) targets spots to reduce blemishes. It clarifies the skin by drawing out impurities but it's super gentle. Out of all the purifying masks, I would say this is the most gentle purifying mask I've ever tried. If you need something stronger the Instant Detox Mask ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 oz) is really good at drawing out the gunk that builds up in your pores. It's a super deep cleansing mask - I prefer this on the T-zone or on spots (with Caudalie they recommend you mix masks at one time to target different needs on different areas of the face). It's on the strong side so I would recommend on the nose or on trouble spots, I would not recommend using it all over the face.

My most-used clarifying mask is the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz/34 g). I've lost count of how many I've used up and repurchased. Anytime my skin starts to break out from buildup or hormonal acne, I use this and it clears up within the week. It cleans out the skin like nothing else I've tried. Regular use has also helped tremendously with acne scars. It's good for oily skin and helps rebalance the face. It's a more gentle version of the Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Mask. If you still find the Supermud too strong, try the Caudalie or Kate Somerville ones instead.

Bobbi Brown has a mask called the Instant Detox Mask ($47 for the full size). This is a like a gentler version of the Caudalie Detox Mask. I liked that it acted like a clarifying mud mask without being too strong. It cleared up my skin and helped to rebalance oily and dry areas without being too strong or too drying. I will be purchasing the full size of this one once I use up my Glamglow and Kate Somerville Masks. Pores were significantly reduced.

The last category is radiance boosting or complexion savers. Bobbi Brown has one called Radiance Boost ($47). This one felt like it had exfoliating properties with tiny grains inside. For radiance, I tend to prefer sheet masks, but decided to give this one a try from the mini trio set. It has superfine walnut grain to exfoliate dead skin cells and orange oil extract to rebalance the oils in your skin. I didn't notice as much of a glow as I did with the La Mer or Charlotte Tilbury masks, but I did notice a subtle glow and my skin did feel smoother with the exfoliating properties. This one has a gentle citrus scent. For now I will be sticking to my sheet masks for radiance.

Last but not least is the Caudalie Glycolic Peel ($39 for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). This one is the most gentle peel mask I've tried. I do an occasional peel treatment with other brands but my skin is so sensitive that I can't tolerate the tingling sensation (some make my eyes water). The Caudalie has no tingle and is non-irritating. For this one you will see results over time. It's a super gentle treatment that helps with exfoliation that improves the skin texture and radiance over the course of a few weeks. It's the most gentle kind of peeling mask I've tried.
_____________________________________________


If you're in search for a new mask, I hope you found this roundup helpful. There are so many different kinds of masks and brands. Nordstrom has over 200 options to choose from and you can filter options by benefit, price point and brand to find the one that suits your specific needs. I have tested quite a few, but for me testing has happened over the span of several months before I usually decide if something really works. My rotation changes as the season shifts to warmer weather. My top picks for right now are:
  1. La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask - for the most impressive results in terms of skin texture, appearance and feel (gives you baby soft skin)
  2. Caudalie Moisture Mask - best moisturizing mask
  3. Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask - best anti-acne redness reducing mask
  4. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment - best clarifying and brightening mask for me




Do you have any favorite winter skincare masks? What's in your rotation right now? I always get the best recommendations from my readers, if you have any tried and true or new discoveries please share!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering with me to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.

 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2016 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK