Showing posts with label Chanel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chanel. Show all posts

Friday, February 12, 2016

Spring Fragrance Rotation for Him and Her


When it comes to fragrance, I feel like it takes me forever to pick something new and also forever to use one up. I have a few go-to's but love trying new things and if you're like me you will take a long time to build up a fragrance collection. If you're looking for a new fragrance for spring, here's what I have in rotation right now. I also have some of my husband's favorites if you're looking for gift ideas for any of the special men in your life.


My go-to spring scents are Byredo Black Saffron and Chanel Beige. Even though we have mild somewhat warm weather year round here in Southern California, I still think some fragrances are seasonal. It's finally that time of year when I feel like I can wear the sweeter florals. Most of these last pretty long on my skin, at least until early afternoon. I do have an extremely sensitive nose though, so what smells strong to me might be non-existent to others. Out of the ones below I would say Byredo, Tom Ford and Creed have the longest lasting power on my skin.
  • Byredo Black Saffron is a mix of berry and musk, I've had this one for like forever, it's one of the few berry scents I can wear because it's not too sweet yet not too musky
    • Top notes: pomelo, saffron, juniper berry
    • Middle notes: black violet, accord cuir, cristal rose
    • Base notes: blonde woods, raspberry, vetiver
  • Byredo Bal D'Afrique is something I am beyond obsessed with, I have this in the single mini from the holiday Discovery Set, it's a sweeter scent to me it smells kinda peachy and floral all at the same time, I also have it in the oil rollerball version, if you're debating between the oil or spray, get the traditional spray version, it has better lasting power
    • Top notes: bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu
    • Middle notes: violet, jasmine petals, cyclamen
    • Base notes: black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is one of the latest fragrance launches from Tom Ford, it's a clean white floral that has a summery beachy feel, there's a hint of amber in it to prevent it from feeling too powdery or too floral (review here)
  • Chloe Eau de Parfum is one of the most popular fragrances on Sephora's website, it's been on my radar for a long time, it's very soft and girly, for something this strong a floral I'm surprised that I liked it, I decided on the 10th time of trying it in store after spritzing samples on myself to just go ahead and go for it
    • Notes: Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey
  • Chanel Beige Exclusifs is one of my all time favorites, it's one of the only Chanel fragrances I've liked enough to splurge on, it's a clean white and warm floral mix that smells very natural and fresh
    • Notes: Hawthorn, freesia, frangipani, honey
  • L'Artisan Mure et Musc is one of the fragrances I've used for the longest period of time, I discovered this line from one of my long-time friends from college, it's a blackberry musk described as having notes of lemon, basil, blackberry and musk, I feel like this one is my no-fail everyday, every season kind of fragrance
  • Maison Martin Margiela Replica Lipstick On is my newest discovery, it's a soft feminine blush floral kind of scent that smells like makeup, it's a floral and has powdery notes, so it surprised me how much I like it because powdery scents typically make me gag, there is a very slight hint of vanilla in it which makes it feel warm and well rounded
    • Notes: Bergamot Oil, Heliotrope Accord, Neroli Oil, Orange Flower Absolute, Iris Concrete, Galbanum Oil, Tonka Bean Absolute, Vanilla Bourbon Extract, Patchouli Oil
  • Maison Martin Margiela Replica Beach Walk in the rollerball is the prettiest relaxing soothing beachy scents I've ever tried, if you've smelled the Henri Bendel Beach Candle, this is similar in fragrance form that's wearable, it smells like a fresh mix of musk and coconut with peppery notes, it's a beachy scent without the floral notes many others have
    • Notes: Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Coconut Milk, Heliotrope, Musk, Cedarwood, Benzoin
  • Creed Royal Princess Oud is the most exquisite and most expensive perfume I have ever owned, the Creed team kindly sent me a sample to try - I love Oud fragrances but my husband always says they are too masculine for me (even though I disagree and think they are unisex), this one has a distinct feminine touch to it, this is a lovely mix of violet, iris and sandalwood, lasting power is extremely good, one of the longest lasting fragrances I've ever tried
    • Top notes: bitter Sicilian bergamot, rose, sweet violet
    • Middle notes: jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, iris from Tuscany
    • Base: benzoin from Thailand, Mysore sandalwood, styrax
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is a classic favorite, this one is my special occasion or date night kind of scent to wear, it's too strong to wear everyday for me, but I know many other women have told me this is their all time favorite, the notes of patchouli are dominant in this one, noticeable floral notes are rose and freesia
    • Notes: Sambac Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Cattleya Orchid, Ballerina Freesia, Patchouli
My husband is the kind of guy who wants to use 2 colognes at most. I think he smells amazing no matter what he has on so I don't mind if he wears the same scent on a regular basis, but I've been trying to get him to explore more which is where the little mini samples come in. Every time I order something online and they have the option to pick samples I try to find men's skincare or fragrance minis. If he has a mini sitting on his counter, he will try it. He's discovered a few new loves this way. Right now here is what he has in rotation:
  • Hermes fragrances can be found at a wide range of retailers, but at the Hermes Boutiques and online they have a Pocket Fragrance Set where you can customize your own travel set of 4 fragrances. You can mix and match any ones they have available, pricing varies depend on what you select, but it's around the $125ish range, I picked four for him:
    • Voyage d'Hermes Eau de Toilette smells of citrus, musk and leather
    • Voyage d'Hermes Eau de Parfum smells of amber and citrus with a hint of floral, this is more masculine compared to the Eau de Toilette version
    • Terre d'Hermes Eau de Toilette smells like a mix of wood, bitter citrus, spice and vetiver
    • Terre d'Hermes Eau de Parfum is a more masculine, woody, stronger version of the Eau de Toilette
  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette is his favorite fragrance of all time, he's gone through at least a dozen of the travel size versions and multiples of the full size bottles, every so often they will have gift sets with aftershave or showergel travel size minis that he likes to try, this one is a clean masculine woody scent
  • Dior Sauvage is a lightweight clean masculine scent, it has notes of citrus mixed in with pepper, in terms of everyday scents, he says this is one of them, but he prefers the Chanel Bleu de Chanel, he wanted me to mention that if the man in your life likes something simple but polished and new from his everyday cologne, the Dior is a good one to try
    • Notes: Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb comes in a limited-edition gift set trio for Valentine's Day, this is one of the most peppery fragrances I've smelled for men, I thought it might be too strong or peppery for my husband, but for some reason everything transform into an amazing kind of smell on his skin, this one according to him is more for a date night or special occasion kind of fragrance, not for everyday, you can really smell the saffron, vetiver and pink pepper notes
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord
  • One last men's fragrance of special note, he also really likes Tom Ford Azure Lime which he is currently out of, I will be getting this for him for Valentine's Day, it's a clean fresh masculine scent, for something so clean and simple smelling the notes are really complex
    • Notes: bergamot, lemon, Valencia orange, Thai basil, mint, rosemary, lime tonic accord, juniper berry, fennel, iris, jasmine, neroli, orange blossom, pittosporum, bucchu leaves, violet leaves, black currant buds, cypress, oak, patchouli, sandalwood, moss, skin accord, tonka bean
I always get the best recommendations from my readers of what to try. I'm pretty set on a lot right now, but it's always nice to explore and add things to the fragrance wishlist. If you have anything you love right now please share. Also if there are any new discoveries for you or the men in your life - let me know in the comments!

Press samples include the Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb, Spicebomb, Maison Margiela Lipstick On and Creed Royal Princess Oud.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Details and Loves


Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you've been having a great weekend. The sun finally came back here in Southern California and we have weather in the 70s - I can't tell you how much of a mood lifter this warm weekend has been. I've been on a fragrance kick lately, I'll have a roundup of what I have in rotation soon on the blog. I just picked up my first Maison Martin Margiela in Replica Beach Walk (the rollerball mini) which is the most amazing beachy mix. It has bergamot, coconut milk, lemon, pink pepper, and musk ... I think it's only a matter of time before I pick up the full size spray. Right now I've been loving the Chloé Eau de Parfum for a soft femine scent (shown above). I have Love Story on my wishlist but it seems to have a very similar feel to the regular Chloé - if you've tried any of the Chloe perfumes please let me know what your favorite is!

Other details today include the Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara Waterproof in Noir (a go-to these days), NARS Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm (reviewed here) and NARS Babydoll Lip Gloss (such a pretty pink shimmer, lip swatch here). I just started playing with the new Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes last week and am beyond thrilled they've re-launched Platinum. It's one of the best all over lid shades that makes a great easy wash for lazy days. It also makes for a great base for powder shadows. Today I'm testing three layered together. Shown above from top to bottom is Platinum, Opale and Caviar. I have taken photographs of all the shades + swatches, I just need to edit them for a post very soon.

Last but not least, I wanted to do a comparison between two makeup bags. I splurged on the Louis Vuitton Epi Cosmetic Case in Dune last month. The nude pink color is just so pretty and it had been on my wishlist for a long time. I really like the durability and classic look of the Epi line and after thinking about this one for months decided to go for it. A few weeks ago I featured the Tory Burch York Cosmetic Case in my Valentine's Day Gift Guide round up post as a less expensive alternative (it's still on the pricey side, but more affordable). I purchased one in Light Oak which is a nude pink color. It's made of Saffiano textured leather and very sturdy. (More colors here.) If you're looking to treat yourself, a friend or a loved one on a pretty cosmetic case, I think either of these are great.


Here's a side by side comparison. The one from Tory Burch is slightly smaller in size compared to the one from Louis Vuitton, but the overall shape and function is the same.

Tory Burch Small York Case measures 6"W x 4"H x 2 ½"D
Louis Vuitton Epi Cosmetic Case measures 6.7" x 4.7" x 2.4" inches



I hope you are enjoying the last bits of your weekend! If you have any new beauty discoveries, or found some items in your stash that you have rediscovered, I've love to hear about what you are loving right now! P.S. if you're a fan of the Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipsticks note they are being discontinued so if you have any favorite shades you might want to stock up. On February 12th they will be launching a new lipstick formula (30+ shades) - I can't to share more details with you.



Some press samples featured above include NARS Babydoll Lip Gloss, Tom Ford Platinum and Opale Cream Shadows.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Chanel Les Sautoirs de Coco Collection for Spring 2016


There's a new pearly-themed beauty collection that just launched for Chanel this spring. The collection is called Les Sautoirs de Coco which features a mix of pale pearly shades and bright pinks. In past years these white pearl-themed collections seem to have been Asia exclusive colors, sometimes launching later in the US in late summer as Nordstrom Anniversary exclusives. Last year Chanel launched the Collection La Perle de Chanel in the US. This year they have the Les Sautoirs de Coco and it's nice to see them launching these kinds of mini collections in the US (although it's hard to believe a year has already flown by!). The inspiration and theme according to Chanel:

"Inspired by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s love of pearls, a new makeup collection glimmers with iridescent and luminous shades of white, pink and soft grey, while classic black elements bring an unexpected contrast to the soft colour range."

I ordered items sight unseen. Based on the online stock photos I knew this collection would either be hit or miss as some of the pink lip colors look very cool-toned, but I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and see if I could try a few new brighter shades. A few weeks ago this was exclusive to Chanel.com, but now appears to be at counters and online at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. What I purchased:

Glossimers in Babiole, Pinctada and Clarté ($30 each)

Swatches of the items and then some thoughts below on each item:


I'll start with my favorite item in the collection which is the Perles Et Fantaisies Highlighter. This appears to be somewhere in between a cream and powder. It's neither creamy nor powdery but it is very smooth with a very subtle glow. I swatched it above with a very heavy hand so you can see the color differences between each shade. On my medium olive skin the highlighter shades both look the same and give a very delicate luminous glow. On the cheeks it gives a soft hint of shimmer. This is one of the most natural-looking highlighters I've ever tried. If you find most highlighters too shimmery, too glowy or too frosty, you might want to look into this one because the shimmer is very finely milled. Color payoff is very natural on my cheeks when applied with a blush brush. If you want a more visible glow but want something natural I'd recommend you check out the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders or Hourglass Luminous Light instead. If you're ok with some serious glow, check out the Natasha Denona Glowing Skin System. The overall effect of the Perles Et Fantaisies Highlighter is very natural but still noticeable.

Given the number of highlighters and glowy products that are out on the market right now, I can't personally deem it a must-have. I think there are a lot of other options that are more affordable. Still the quality is there with this one. It adds a nice subtle glow without emphasizing pores or making the skin look overly shiny. I do think because of the semi-sheer finish that some will find this simply too natural or sheer to justify splurging. I have no regrets buying it and I do really like it though.



Swatched with a very heavy hand:


Next are two items for eyes. There's a new Les 4 Ombres in Tissé de Lune. This one reminds me of an older Chanel quad that I cannot recall the name of. This is a pearly quad with the baked formula. I'm not a fan of the baked formula and wish Chanel would skip that kind of formula entirely. The pigment is decent with this one though. The colors apply with visible pigment and they aren't chalky. However the 3 lighter shades when applied on the eyes end up all looking the same on my skin. They are distinct if you swatch side by side, but once you layer they all kind of disappear into the same light colored shimmer. It will give the eyes a very bright glow kind of highlight that I find pretty. They are pale shades but not too pale or garish (sometimes light shades have a sharp contrast to my olive skintone).



The quad layered on the lids - as you can see below the colors are pretty sheer and all the shades look similar on the eyes. The flash washed out the color a little bit but it leaves a subtle gleam of shimmer on the lids:


There's a new Illusion D'Ombre in Iridescent. This one is really pretty and gives the lids a wash of opal shimmer that flashes tiny bits of pink. You can layer for more intensity but this is one of those nice brightening kinds of eyeshadows that you can wear all over the lids. It has a very slight duo chrome quality without being too shimmery or frosty. I really like this one.

Swatched below, left is blended and right is layered:


Last but not least are three Glossimers in Clarté which is a sheer opal pink shimmer, Babiole a cool-toned bright raspberry fuschia cream and Pinctada which is a cool-toned bright pink shimmer. I absolutely love Clarté which gives the lips a really pretty wash of color. It has a similar effect to Songe (which I couldn't find in my stash to compare) in the sense it gives the lips a gorgeous glow with a hint of iridescent shine.

Although I am a neutral lip lover at heart, I do find Pinctada a wearable color even though it's on the bright side. It's cool-toned but not too cool that I find it turns blue on my skin.

Babiole is something that doesn't work for me. The pigment and color payoff is very good, but because it's so blue-based it contrasts with my skintone and looks garish. I think it looks ok in the detail swatch below, but when you see it against the whole face it just clashes with my olive skintone. I think it looks absolutely gorgeous on Christine from Temptalia - so if you haven't seen her post, be sure to check out her swatches.






If you're a Chanel fan and have been curious about this collection, I hope you found this review helpful. I think there are definitely some items worth checking out - my top three picks are the highlighter, Illusion D'Ombre and Clarté Glossimer. I do think if you're trying to narrow down your purchases for highlighter this season, skip the Chanel highlighter and opt for something from Hourglass, Natasha Denona or Tom Ford instead. That being said if you're always in search of something with a subtle glow and find most highlighters too glowy, this one might be one you have been searching for - it has the most finely milled glow that I've ever seen in any highlighter. I'm personally not crazy about the Tissé Ombre de Lune eyeshadow quad or the pink glossimers, but that's mainly because of my color preferences. For lips Chanel just launched the Rouge Coco Stylo lipsticks and the colors look very promising so I would say save your $$$ for those instead. I just received 3 colors today and will have a post next week with swatches - but here's a quick peek at #218 Script which is a perfectly creamy pigmented neutral beige pink with a bit of brown.


You can find the Chanel Les Sautoirs de Coco Collection now online at Chanel.com, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. All the items are limited-edition.

Did you check out anything from this launch yet? What did you think?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Chanel Collection L.A. Sunrise for Spring 2016 - The Beauty Look Book Picks

Chanel Collection L.A. Sunrise

Spring beauty collections are usually my favorite of all the seasonal releases and the first one I'm reviewing this year is the Chanel Collection L.A. Sunrise launch for Spring 2016. I saw the collection a couple weeks ago in stores and picked up a few items. This one seems very different from the typical spring collection for Chanel - everything is very bright, vibrant and has a more summery vibe. I would say that at first glance most of it was not my cup of tea, but I think there are a couple stand outs that are not to be missed. The items I picked out:

Rouge Coco Shines in Shipshape, Mighty and Energy ($37)
Le Vernis Nail Gloss in Sunrise Trip ($28)
Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Purple Croc ($33)

Quick swatches of my picks and then more closeups and thoughts on each item:



Sunkiss Ribbon Blush is the star of the collection. It's a stunning blush with a mix of five different shades. The surface is embossed in the most beautiful print, like a ribbon. I swatched the colors individually with a detail brush, but for the face, I just swirl a blush brush and apply to the cheeks. It's a warm pink with coral on me - almost has a bronzed effect but in blush form if that makes sense. It adds life and warmth to the complexion with a subtle luminous glow. The powders do have shimmer but it's not frosted and it's finely milled. Texture is smooth and easy to blend. It's pure love.



Many have asked how it compares to the Horizon Blush de Chanel from Spring 2012 - I miraculously still own it and swatch compared it below along with some other shades. The Spring 2012 is more pink while this year's is more coral.


Blush Horizon de Chanel (discontinued)
Le Blush Creme de Chanel Affinite (discontinued, review here)
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta (review here)
Tom Ford Blush in Wicked (review)
Chanel Blush in Tumulte (discontinued)
NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Panic


Rouge Coco Shines in Shipshape, Mighty and Energy ($37) are three bright but medium-sheer glossy lipsticks. I was immediately drawn to Mighty a cool pink. I decided to pick up the other two as well even though they are outside my comfort zone. They are bright but can be sheered out for a more wearable look. I like to apply these straight from the tube, but you can get more coverage and pigment if you apply with a lip brush. These are scent-free and taste-free. Lasting power is average - it has a glossy finish so it's not super long lasting. At the same time it's not one that will disappear within the hour (as long as you don't drink or eat) but I don't mind reapplying. They have a smooth luxurious feel and I find them moisturizing on the lips.


Swatches straight from the tube and then with a lip brush next to it:


On these lip swatches the colors are applied straight from the tube:




Le Vernis Nail Gloss in Sunrise Trip ($28) is a new formula of nail polish for Chanel. It's called a Nail Gloss and it is indeed different from the regular Chanel polish. It looks almost navy black in the bottle but it has a jelly finish which applies as a bright gel-like color. It's a bright but deep blue purple color. In some light it looks more purple, in others it appears more blue. It has a flawless smooth jelly finish that is streak free. I do get even coverage with two coats and the coverage is impressive for a jelly gel. You can still see a tiny bit of the nail underneath but there are no streaks.


Here it is with two coats and one coat of the Chanel Le Top Coat, but even without the top coat it has a very high-gloss finish that is very reflective, it's so shiny it twinkles in direct sun as captured by the shot below:


Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Purple Croc ($33) it's been a while since I've given anything a blatant thumbs down review. I am really picky with what I feature on this blog, and I am particular about what I purchase. If I'm going to share something with my readers I want it to be worth their while to read about. Even with items I am iffy about I try to review it with the thought that something that doesn't appeal to me, might still appeal to someone else and try my best to be objective. I swatched this on my hand at the counter and it looked so pretty. It's a unique metallic pencil with the prettiest bright violet shimmers. It's possible mine could just be a dud, but I am really sad that this one is a complete fail.



Swatched with a very heavy hand:


The upside is that it's smooth and glides onto the skin without any tugging. The downside is that it's super sheer with one swipe, with several swipes back and forth I can build more color, but it's very blotchy as a liner. Another downside is that it's so creamy it never really set on my eyes which is strange because I've had such good experiences with other colors in this formula. I thought since the pencil acted more like a cream shadow I could smudge it on my eyes along the lash line as a cream shadow but once smudged the color just disappeared and it looks like a smokey mess. If you've tried any of the eyeliners in the spring collection please let me know your thoughts. I've tried several attempts to make this one work and so far it's not going well.


There are some other items in the collection that I passed on. There are three Illusion D'Ombres and I thought I would fall in love with the Moonlight Pink shade - it's a lovely nude pink, but when I swiped it on my hand it matched my skintone so I suspected it wouldn't show up on the lids. It's still calling my name so there's a chance I might go back and try it again. The other two Griffith Green and Ocean Light were clearly outside of my comfort zone so I passed. There is also supposed to be a quad but I haven't seen it anywhere yet - I've heard that it's a bright one and that my local counters didn't receive it but are expecting it to arrive any day. There are two other Stylo Yeux Pencils in a Blue and Green Shade, they looked super bright at the counter so I didn't swatch them. The last item I passed on was the Rouge Double in Tender Beige. I'm not sure if this is a new color or a repromote - but I passed as well.

Overall, I think the winner is the Sunkiss Ribbon Blush. It's so pretty and the pigment and texture are really good. It's easy to blend and adds a nice glow to the skin. There's enough color that it shows up but it's not over the top bright. Sunrise Trip is a lovely color with a unique gel formula. I really like it but for right now it seems to have more of a summer vibe rather than spring. Still I do recommend it - I don't own anything like it and do think it's unique.

You can find Chanel spring at counters now. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Chanel.com.

Did you pick up anything from the Collection LA Sunrise launch? If yes, what did you think?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best in Skincare and Grooming 2015



I discovered a lot of new favorites in 2015 for skincare. I've compiled a list of items I consider game changers that have made a significant difference for my skin over the past year improving texture, clarity, and smoothness. I struggled over 2014 with lots of stress with some life changes and didn't take the best care of myself health-wise. It impacted my skin and took months to recover. In 2015 my husband also went outside of his comfort zone to try more in skincare and grooming. We've rounded up our favorites for the past year. First up, best skincare picks for me:

Shown above featured from left to right:
  • Le Mieux 4-in-1 Ultrasonic Anti-Aging Skin Perfecter* (review here) best cleaning device tool discovered this year, helps to clean pores and with gentle extractions that won't break the skin
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) best daily cleanser to help clarify skin, clean pores and help prevent breakouts
  • Tatcha Indigo Triple Recovery Cream* the entire Tatcha Indigo Line actually should be on the list as I've found every item I've tried to be a game changer for my sensitive skin. It's great for those who have eczema, for me it helped moisturize and soothe irritated and inflamed skin on flare up days, you can try the entire line in the Soothing Indigo Mini Set
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (review here) one of my top day creams
  • Eve Lom Brightening Cream* (review here and here) also in the top day creams which really helped with brightening the complexion and lightening dark spots and acne scars
  • Kate Somerville Dermal Quench and Dermal Quench with Retinol * (review here and here) experiencing the Kate Somerville line in person this year at the clinic in Los Angeles changed my life, I had always been interested in the line but didn't know where to start, having an in person assessment and facial helped me pick out what would be best for my skin, the Dermal Quench items have been game changers to improve skin texture for day and night, helps give the skin a lift and also reduce redness
  • Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum* (review here) I wrote about this back in February after giving it a thorough 50+ day test (or night that is), it comes with a hefty price tag but I found it to be the biggest game changer for my skin, at the beginning of the year I had horrible skin texture, lots of dark spots from acne scars, breakouts on the chin area - nothing I tried seemed to restore my skin and at that point I was too scared to use anything with retinol. This completely restored my skin in a gentle non-irritating way. It's a night treatment that helped with resurfacing and rebalancing. I continued using it weekly throughout the year as needed and I'm almost finished with the bottle. Whenever I feel my skin starting to act up this has hands down been the best treatment to help improve texture.
  • Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen* (reviewed here and here) best sunscreen I've ever tried that doubles as a matte primer, helps smooth skin, doesn't look white on the face, keeps oil controlled
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream* back in November, my skin suffered a serious allergic reaction to Neosporin. I put it on a couple scabs that I had picked from acne to help with the healing process, instead my face literally blew up into a serious rash with tons of deep red bumps and swelling. It took around five weeks for my face to recover (it wasn't bad enough for any prescription treatment, I was told the only thing to do was wait for it all to heal). The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream was one of the few creams I could use for my irritated inflamed skin. My friends swear by it. I really love it.
  • L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil* best facial oil that I like to use at night or weekends on no makeup days, helps restore the skin's glow and moisturize without being too greasy, bottle lasts forever as a little goes a long way
  • Chanel Sublimage Eye Cream after all the eye creams I've tested this is still my favorite

For my husband, best in men's grooming:

Men's grooming favorites shown from left to right:

What were your skincare favorites? Any new discoveries that you found to be game changers?

Press samples featured with a * indicator next to the product names.
 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best in Beauty 2015: The Beauty Look Book Favorites for Hands and Nails


Hands and nails get their own favorites category this year. There were a lot of really good colors launched this year - unfortunately quite a few were limited-edition. My top picks for hand creams, treatments, polishes and other basics. Previous reviews linked for reference:
  1. Marc Jacobs Hi-Shine Enamored Nail Lacquer in Daisy - this is one I've owned for a couple years but everytime I wear it I always get asked "what's on your nails?" it's the prettiest soft pearly color that makes the hands look polished
  2. Chanel Le Vernis in Beige Rose - best baby pink cream nail color
  3. Dior Vernis in Lady - so sad this was limited-edition, the prettiest powder pink, I wish I bought a backup bottle
  4. Dior Vernis in Sunkissed - also limited-edition but still available at Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, the best nude peach cream
  5. Tom Ford Sugar Dune - this was a limited-edition color from spring 2014 but made a comeback this year and was added to the permanent lineup, it's the closest one to Dior Lady and such a polished beauty
  6. Louboutin Scarabée Nail Polish Collection - the three had to be the prettiest nail colors launched this past year, I was happy to get them before they sold out, looking forward to what they will release this upcoming year
  7. Rescue Beauty Lounge everything, in particular the R29 Collection - RIP RBL, you were one of my favorite nail polish lines, I was very sad to see the line go, but their polishes will always have a very special place in my heart
  8. L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Hand Creams - L'Occitane launched such an amazing with their holiday collection this year, I fell in love with everything in the Pierre Hermé line and am embarrassed to admit how many shower gels and hand creams I stocked up on because they are limited-edition, right now you can still find Miel Mandarine and Pamplemousse Rhubarbe online but I don't suspect they will be available for long
  9. Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover and Cuticle Oil - both of these remain at the top of my list for DIY nail essentials, I use them weekly and had to replace both because I use them so often
  10. Molton Brown Hand Cream in Pink Pepperpod - the most unique refreshing scent I've tried
  11. Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher - still the best one I've tried, although if you have any good ones to recommend I'm all ears
  12. Chanel Chataigne - from the fall collection earlier this year, initially I thought it was so similar to other vamps but it grew on me, best vampy shade launched this year
  13. Chanel Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir - prettiest gold glitter top coat launched this year, I hope you were able to get one! It's limited-edition
  14. Marc Jacobs Hi Shine Enamored Nail Lacquer in Wine Not - best metallic wine color released this year, it sold out almost instantly but was restocked online at Marc Jacobs Beauty, if you haven't tried it you need to
  15. Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat - I don't think I reviewed this in detail although I did mention it in this post here, one of the best top coats I tried this year and doesn't cause shrinkage with other nail polish brands
  16. Formula X Nail Cleaner and Base Coat - I've found the Nail Cleaner to be a game changer, having a completely clean nail surface makes all the difference in helping polish adhere to the nails, the Base Coat has been a staple all year long, it's what I've used the most and I can't recommend it enough
Nail polish and hand cream fanatics - what were your favorites this year?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On My Radar / New in Beauty


Is it too early for spring beauty yet? For those looking forward, there is a lot on the horizon for spring that focuses on fresh and glowing beauty. I've already spotted sneak peeks of new foundation releases from Chanel, Laura Mercier, YSL, Armani, NARS to name a few - all to be launching soon. For now, here's a roundup of new beauty launches on my radar that you can purchase right now if you need instant gratification. I placed a large order a couple days ago for some Dior spring items and also picked up a few pieces from Chanel spring. I'll be testing them in the next week and have swatches as soon as I can.
  1. Chanel Collection L.A. Sunrise for spring 2016 has started to trickle in stores and is now live on Chanel.com, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. It has a brighter feel than what I normally go for, but I love that everything is lively and colorful. What I picked up (reviews + swatches soon):
  2. Charlotte Tilbury Magic just launched the Magic Skin Trilogy with two new additions to her Magic Line. I'm a huge fan of her Magic Cream ($100) and couldn't be more thrilled to see it available now in the Magic Night Cream ($145) and Magic Eye Rescue Cream ($60). I've been testing both of the new items for 3 days now, will have a report back after a few more days but I can say now that the Magic Night Cream is phenomenal - I wake up with glowing skin. (Also available in a Magic Skin Trilogy Set for $285.)
  3. YSL Spring Look just launched with a collection of pastels. I have my eye on the Glossy Stains ($36) in Tangerine Boho and Rose Folk along with the La Laque Couture Nail Polish ($27) in Love Pink.
  4. Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint ($33) launched a few weeks ago. I went to two counters to see if they had it in stock and both had sold out so I ordered it online. I'm excited to see how it compares to the ones from Clarins and Dior.
  5. Dior has a couple spring launches, one is a Lip Glow collection which features the Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Lip Balm ($33) in Lilac. As a fan of the pink and coral, I'm really excited to see how this one wears.
  6. Dior Glowing Gardens for Spring has light and airy colors with powders ebossed with gorgeous floral designs. The Diorskin Nude Air Illuminating Powders ($58) in Glowing Pink and Glowing Nude look so pretty. There are two Eyeshadow Palettes in Blue Garden and Rose Garden ($63 each) but as one who rarely wears aqua or green eyeshadow, I will need to test before splurging.
  7. Tarte just launched their Chiseling Charmers Deluxe Contour Set ($24, online only). This looks promising.
  8. Glamglow's latest is a peel-off mask called Gravitymud Firming Treatment ($69). I need this like yesterday.
  9. Henri Bendel Champagne Candle ($30), need I say more? My local store was sold out but had one burning in-store. It smells amazingly fresh.
My wishlist is already a mile long. I will need to do some sorting, thinking and prioritizing before splurging. What's on your radar for the upcoming spring beauty season?


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Makeup Must-Haves for a Glowing Beauty Look



During the holidays the bold red lips and gold sparkles are always in for beauty, but as a neutral makeup lover, I opt for colors that make the skin glow naturally for a fresh-faced look. It's this time of year that I start to lighten in skin tone so I like to add and layer colors to give the face a little life. Also being someone who likes to wear red clothing during the holidays - I find that neutral makeup goes best with a red dress or sweater (although brighter pinks also complement red outfits). I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorite beauty items along with a few new discoveries.

For glowing skin I like to layer bronzer and highlighters. The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duos are incredible for adding life to the face. I have both the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow and the newer Medium to Dark version and like both. Either would make beautiful luxe gifts too for any beauty lover - especially the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set that comes with the sculpting brush.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, Bronzers and Blushes are in my top picks for a natural glowy look. The Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light is the perfect mix of bronzer and highlighter swirled into one compact. It gives the complexion a radiant bronzed glow. I also really love the Ambient Lighting Blushes, Luminous Flush (shown below) and Incandescent Electra are my favorites. If you don't own any yet, I highly recommend the holiday Ambient Lighting Edit Palette. It's oh so gorgeous!!! I own 5 of the 6 shades individually and although it would make an excellent travel companion, I decided to pass this season.

Hands down the best highlighting duo launched this year is the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight. It has a pearly opal color and a medium light tan champagne. Together they give the skin a candlelit glow that's just so so so pretty.

Armani Fluid Sheers are always a favorite to add a glow on top of the cheek bones (I apply after foundation and powder and dab it onto the cheeks). They're also great to mix in with foundation to add luminosity in a natural way. #2 is the classic champagne ivory shimmer and #17 is a newer one that's the prettiest neutral pink. I have a few more shades swatched below.




For eyes, I like to keep things simple and light. I'm all about a champagne base and I've finally mastered the liquid liner application (success!). The best neutral quad is Tom Ford Nude Dip (brand new fresh one shown below). It is on the shimmery side but I don't think it's over the top. Armani Eye Tints offer a nice wash of color, there are lots of neutrals - many of which look similar but have slight variations in undertone.

Other champagne favorites include NARS Velvet Shadow Stick in Goddess (pretty much budge-proof once it sets), Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold (super creamy and easy to blend, if you have oily lids it might be too emollient), Burberry Wet and Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell (the perfect shimmer for the lids) and if you want something more glitzy Armani Eyes to Kill in #8 is pretty awesome.

I've been experimenting more with different kinds of liquid eyeliners this year. I've found so many good ones. Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Pen still remains at the top of my list. Burberry's Effortless Liquid Liner has a felt-tip stiffer tip which is also super easy to use. Both colors are super rich black shades and stay true-to color (some liners I've tried dry to a lighter color and look grey on my skin).

To add a bit of definition or color, just add a smudge of something deeper along the upper lash line. I am really loving the Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Rouge Noir that is new for holiday. Charlotte Tilbury Color Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencils are super long-lasting. They are creamy enough that you can apply and smudge/blend with ease, but once it sets, it stays put with impressive lasting power.



Reds and berries and plums are always in for holiday. I love a good plum, but as one with full lips, I always feel so self conscious with reds or brights. I feel like they draw extra attention to my lips. I prefer fresh colors that make the face glow. I've been obsessed with the Tom Ford Lips and Boys launch this year. There are 25 new shades, I will have swatches of 12 of my picks soon (I promise!). Most of the new colors have shimmer in them, but it's a luminous shimmer for most. From what I recall there were only a few glitzy colors in the bold range. Demsey is the perfect peachy color (it's a darker and less frosty version compared to last year's William). Ansel is a gorgeous bright warm pink shimmer (this fits the gap I've seen in the Tom Ford line for something that's in between pale and super bright). Malik is the most intriguing cool lavender mauve with gold shimmer (not the most holiday-like color, more for spring, but layer a gloss on top and it transforms into a gorgeous mauve). If I found this 10-piece Lips and Boys Set under my Christmas Tree I think I would die of happiness.

I've been playing with some of the Burberry Kisses Glosses. They were reformulated along with the Kisses Lipsticks (which I think are the best scent-free lipsticks on the market). Pale Nude is my kind of color - shimmering gold nude. Coral Rose is a sheer but pretty shimmering pink. Antique Rose is a mauve with a hint of silver sparkle. They are scent-free and taste-free. Texture is glossy and smooth. Lasting power is average for a gloss, but I don't mind reapplying after a few hours.




For holiday fragrance I've been loving the Chanel Allure Parfum Bottle which is a concentrated version of the perfume. It comes in a bottle with a dabber. I bought mine which is the larger size in Paris over the summer (which is still compact in size). I was thrilled to see it available in the US in the smaller size. Another layering combination I've been loving lately is Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede spritzed over Blackberry and Bay. These minis are in the Cologne Collection Set (5 colognes) which are perfect for putting in your clutch.


I hope you found this roundup helpful if you're looking for ways to add a natural glow to your beauty routine this holiday. I am always trying to be braver in wearing bold reds and plums on the lips, but I like makeup that makes me feel comfortable and a better version of myself. There are a number of ways to add a bit of color but still look natural and there are tons of options to pick from at Nordstrom (it's my favorite place to shop because they have the majority of my favorite brands). If you're shopping for gifts online, take note of their holiday shipping deadlines here.

What's your beauty routine for the holiday season? Do you like to add bold shades for a glamorous bright look? Or do you like to keep things neutral too? If you have any favorites or go-to's you've been loving please share! I always get such great recommendations and ideas from you :)

This Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rosegold also looks like the perfect glowy gloss, I've had my eye on it but haven't tried it yet - if you have what did you think? Is it a must-have?



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions my own.

 

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