Showing posts with label Dior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dior. Show all posts

Monday, June 6, 2016

10 Mascaras Tried and Tested


I've been playing with quite a few mascaras over the past several months - some from early January. As I've worked my way through a few tubes I've made notes on thoughts for these and kept them to photograph next to each other so you can see the brush sizes and shapes. I have really straight relatively wimpy lashes that are often barely visible unless I have mascara on. I rarely ever wear anything on the bottom lashes because most brushes are too big to catch the tiny lashes. That combined with the fact that most mascaras smudge on me is another factor for why I don't wear anything on the lower lashes.

I have tested a few lash growth serums but am still undecided - I suspect that they require months of use to see results. I received a sample tube of Rapidlash earlier this year and as of today I've hit the 71 day mark of use. I have started to see some results but they are still on the subtle side. If you have ones you've tried that worked let me know.

Onto the mascaras I've tested out. Some are repeats of classic staples. I usually like waterproof versions because they are the ones that really don't smudge on me. However there are quite a few that leave the lashes looking and feeling a bit crunchy or that turn slightly greyish when they dry so I'm really picky with formulas. The image below is interactive so you can click on the icons below to shop the mascaras:

Shown above from bottom to the top:
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16.50) is one of the mascaras I've used for the longest, I discovered it years ago and it's a great basic mascara to add definition and volume, it's not the most volumizing formula but the black is a true black color and doesn't smudge, flake or clump.
  • By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara ($48) is one I received as a gift with purchase at a counter a year ago, it's a formula that is very expensive but gives a really nice lush look to the lashes, it is supposed to have a growth formula inside it, I haven't noticed any visible growth from this one but it's not one I use daily, I like this because it doesn't flake, irritate or clump, it holds the curl and adds nice volume you can layer.
  • Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($29.50) I love Dior mascaras but often times they just don't hold the curl for me, I gave this a try in hopes of finding one that does and was thrilled to find that it did for me. There were a lot of mixed reviews online - people either love it or hate it. I found it held the curl and did not smudge. I would have liked a bit more noticeable drama for me, you can layer it but on me it was easy to over-layer where you get that slightly cakey look. The fact that it held the curl and didn't smudge moved this into my thumbs up list.
  • Burberry Bold Lash ($29) is one I used a few years ago, loved it and repurchased once. I gave it another buy and have no regrets. This is best on me with one good coat. I apply at the base of the lashes and wiggle the tube to apply - it coats lashes evenly without clumping and it does not smudge on me.
  • Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara ($23) is one I tried in the Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box (review here and it's still available). It far exceeded my expectations and I proceeded to search for it in stores. I could not find it anywhere near me so I ordered online. It's my new favorite formula although it is a bit hard to remove in the evening. I like this for the most drama and definition. It holds the curl and doesn't smudge and looks like a true black.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26) is one I had high hopes for because I really love the O!Mega Lash Mascara (that one has been my most repurchased formula over the past year). The Velvet Noir has an ultra deep color. It has a unique curved brush that dips in the middle of the wand to match the curve of the eye and get the corners. Application is really easy and it looks incredible. Unfortunately for me it does not hold the curl. Smudging is minimal but still happens a tiny bit on me with this one.
  • Marc Jacobs Feather Noir Mascara ($24) is an ultra skinny mascara - one of the tiniest wands I've ever seen! It's made mascara application on lower lashes possible for me. I have super sensitive eyes so it does tickle a little when I apply this but it has such a fine wand it will catch tiny lashes without touching the skin. It did not smudge on me when I used on lower lashes. I think this is a winner if you're one who is looking for a lower lash mascara.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara ($32) I love all things Charlotte Tilbury so when this launched I had high hopes. The regular mascara from her line is ok in my experience. This one is like a face lift for the lashes. I rarely notice the smell of mascara but this one smells like it has a tiny bit of perfume and it smells amazingly fresh and pretty. I have mixed feelings on this one. I've put this to the test over the last month. It gives that faux mascara look by adding incredible volume and definition - it's really impressive. It holds the curl, doesn't flake and is non irritating. However half the time it smudges. The other half of the time it does not. Even when I have an extra powdered under-eye sometimes it still smudges. If this came in a waterproof formula I think it would be 100% flawless for me. Right now it's 50/50 on the smudge factor.
  • Chanel Le Volume Mascara ($32) is a classic. I like the regular black version but try to buy the plum shades when they launch because they are often limited-edition. There are two formulas the regular Le Volume and Le Volume Waterproof. I like both but for me waterproof is the way to go especially in humid warmer months. It adds volume and doesn't smudge.
  • MustaeV Maxi Lash Volume Mascara ($18) is one of the deepest black mascaras I've tried. It has a super skinny wand so it's easy to grab all the lashes - even the ones around the edges. I was really impressed how well it stayed put - no smudging for me on all testing occasions. It's not the most volumizing for me because I have such wimpy lashes but it's a good everyday kind of mascara that never clumps on me and I love the true black color.
Another view of the mascaras, different angle:


So which one is my favorite? Right now it's a three-way tie between the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, the By Terry Terrybly Mascara and Chanel Le Volume. The Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes is almost perfect - it smudges on me half the time I wear it.

If you're looking for a new mascara I hope you found this roundup helpful! As always - I'd love to hear about your recommendations! At this time I don't use a base/primer or a top coat for the lashes. I know several of you have recommended the Clarins Double Fix as a way to prevent smudging. I still have yet to try it but just ordered it so will let you know how it works. I've played with a few false lashes on occasion but find them too time consuming to apply on a daily basis - I know it just takes practice to get used to but it's something I just haven't gotten into yet.

If you have any tips, tricks or advice on lash growth serums I'm all ears!

Press samples featured include the Charlotte Tilbury, MustaeV, RapidLash. Gifted item includes the By Terry Mascara.

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.

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.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Lip Balms in Pink, Coral and Lilac


This spring Dior has launched a new shade of their Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Lip Balm in Lilac ($33, limited-edition). These are balms that have a transparent quality and a slight tint but once applied on the lips, the formula reacts to your lip chemistry to create a glow that is unique to you. Many of these transforming lip glow products tend to turn fuchsia on my lips. The original Pink 001 color is one of those - it turns into a lovely flushed pink within a few minutes but as time goes on it turns into a bright pink that stains my lips with an un-natural pink. I personally love the formula, texture and feel, but Coral 002 reacts better with my body chemistry (or face chemistry) to give a better natural glow. Lilac 005 is the latest addition for spring and it's absolutely perfect. It applies like a flushed soft pink that has slight cool undertones.

These will look different on everyone, but I thought I'd share swatches anyways since many of you have been curious about the new Lilac shade. Below is a look at the three lip glows, Pink 001, Coral 004 and Lilac 005. All three have the same smooth balmy feel. They are unscented and glide on the lips with a moisturizing glossy feel. The finish is semi-thick, not as thick or balmy as the Creme de Rose Lip Balm (reviewed here), but just as moisturizing in my experience.

A quick note on the pink one - I don't recommend you expose it to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. The direct sun will fade the color and remove any color transforming properties. I had to cut off the tip that was exposed because after a few minutes of being in the sun it turned clear. The other two colors seem unaffected by direct sunlight.

Below, a look at the labels/colors. I'm sure there were Lip Glows in 002 and 003 released in previous seasons, but they were never on my radar, so I'm not sure what colors they were:

Another look at the balm colors:


Swatched on my lips, along with a shot of my bare lips. All the Lip Glows were photographed after having been applied for at least 5 minutes to make sure the color transformed. Do note these will look different on everyone because they are designed to react to your own body chemistry. On one of my friends who has the same skintone as me (just slightly more pink) the Coral turns more of a bright pinky peachy on her, while on me it's distinctly coral. I didn't swatch on the arms because they pretty much look clear on the arm.



On the nails, Louboutin Miss Loubi

Dior Addict Lip Glow Coral had been my favorite one for the color until Lilac arrived. In terms of pink transforming lip tints, the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector in Pink 3 and IPKN Twinkle Lips in Pink Glow far surpass the Dior Addict Lip Glow in Pink in my experience - both transform my lips into a really pretty natural pink glow without making them look fuschia or stained. Also both have a thinner finish that is more weightless while the Dior is more hydrating/thicker.

I highly recommend you check out the new Lilac Lip Glow - it's limited-edition and so pretty. It's such a lovely way to add a natural tint of color to the lips.

You can find the Dior Addict Lip Glow in Pink and Coral at all Dior counters. The Lilac is listed as limited-edition for now, but in past seasons the Coral shade was a limited-edition color that sold out almost instantly and after a while they brought it back. With the whole limited-edition factor, sometimes you just never really know how long something will be around. Some items have received such a positive response brands have brought items back. In this situation I'd recommend you buy sooner than later just in case. It's that good I think it's a must-have.

The Dior Addict Lip Glow in Lilac should be available at most counters now. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dior.com.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What's Inside My Makeup Bag

Inside my makeup bag truffle clarity pouch

It's only the first week of the year and even though I've tried to clean out some of my purses and reorganize, I've already accumulated way too much in my makeup bag. I just emptied it this morning and counted 12 lip items ... wait no, 13 eek! Everytime I go out with my husband, he's always asking what it is that I'm lugging around and if I really need to carry all this stuff. Of course I don't, but I still do. Here's a peek at what's inside my makeup bag which is the Truffle Clarity Clutch Small in Nude. Some will be reviewed on the blog very soon.
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Lips


Featured from left to right:
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All the other stuff


From left to right:
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I'll say now that the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac is way better than the Pink one (which turns fuchsia on my lips sometimes). I ordered all the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks from the chocolate launch because how can one resist anything chocolate? There are hits and misses with the colors - I'll be editing swatches to upload later this week (my husband said one of the colors looked absolutely hideous on me). I pulled out my Tisse Rivoli eyeshadow quad recently - it is one of my favorite neutrals in quad form but I misplaced it and couldn't find it for months (I had put the compact in my blush drawer which is why I couldn't find it with all the other eyeshadow compacts). My goal for the new year is to find some more makeup organization solutions. I've been using Muji Acrylic organizers and drawers, but I need something bigger with taller drawers - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. There are a number of options out there I've been researching - I've been making notes on dimensions and picing, it's kinda overwhelming to sort out! 

What's in your makeup bag this week? If you keep your makeup contents to a minimum, how do you edit/organize what you carry? 



Press samples featured above indicated by a *. 

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?


Monday, December 14, 2015

Lip Balm Testing and Recommendations for Winter Weather

Winter Lip Treatments Balms

Above: Tray from J.Crew (similar here and here), Clare V Wallet Clutch, Celine Knot Bracelet, Gorjana Crossover Cuff

I've been testing a number of new-to-me lip treatments, balms and oils since late fall. I did a roundup of rosy red tinted lip treatments for holiday last month, but it's been a year since I rounded up what I've been testing and loving in the non-tinted version. Today after weeks and weeks of testing, I have thoughts on 16 different lip balms in multiple formulas to share today. I've split the lip balms into three categories: the pots, the tubes, and the squeeze tubes.

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Potted Lip Treatments

Fresh Dior Chanel Tatcha Nuxe Lip Balms

Some of my favorite lip balms formulas are in pot format even though I prefer the tube or stick version so I don't have to stick my finger in. I've raved about the By Terry Baume de Rose so many times I thought I'd round up some others I've been testing.
  • Fresh Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy ($30) - I had high hopes for this one as I really like the stick sugar lip balms but find they can get soft and be prone to breakage. One in pot format seemed more ideal for a soft formula, but this one is actually harder in texture. I had to take a lip brush to break the surface and get enough product for my lips. With just fingers I could barely get anything on and the result was a barely-there veil of moisture. If you dip into the surface and dig out enough of the product to layer on the lips, it makes the lips feel moisturized, smooth, slightly minty and cool but without the tingle. Unfortunately it doesn't give the lips a long-lasting moisturized feel. I would say the effects are immediate and temporary for fall to winter weather. It would be better suited for warm weather.
  • Nuxe Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm Rêve de Miel ($19) - This is one I bought in the limited-edition packaging, but the formula is the same as the regular pots with the white caps. This is an ultra creamy highly concentrated rich balm that smells like honey and grapefruit. I find it on the thick side of creamy so it really coats the lips with a cushion of moisture. It stays put and doesn't slide around. It comes in a hefty glass jar. The scent is very natural and barely has any taste. I like this one for an ultra rich and creamy treatment.
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care ($50) This is one I used up and repurchased. I go back and forth with this one, mainly because it comes with a very high price tag. It's smooth and lightweight in feel but does moisturize the lips. If you read my post from last year I said I would probably use it to the end but not repurchase (well I ended up repurchasing). It's a good basic lip balm that works for me, but I think others like the Nuxe or the Clarins Lip Oils have a deeper more moisturizing treatment and more affordable.
  • Dior Crème de Rose ($28) - This has been on my radar for years and I finally bought it and tried it this year. It's super smooth and creamy without the greasy feel. It has the most lush rose scent, similar to By Terry but slightly less floral/sharp which makes it easier for those with sensitive noses. It's very hydrating and the effects truly make a difference in the moisture of the lips.
  • Tatcha Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm ($36, also in the Travel Kit and several other holiday sets) This is an extra special lip balm. It's such a unique formula. The base is a clear jelly-like balm that smells refreshingly sweet. It's dewy and adds the perfect amount of moisture to the lips and feels lightweight. It's topped with a thin layer of 24-karat gold leaf that gives it an ultra luxe look. It's a winner and I really can't imagine life without it.
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Lip Balms in Squeeze Tubes

Amore Pacific Laura Mercier Lip Balm L'Occitane First Aid Beauty Bite Beauty Malin+Goetz

Squeeze tubes are the best format for lip balms in my opinion. They're compact, easy to use and don't require fingers. Many come with angled applicators which makes it easier to apply these days. A few new ones along with tried-and-true favs:
  • Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment ($35) This is something I tried because so many of my readers raved about AmorePacific. This is a tiny tube of balm but the formula is excellent. It offers instant relief to super dry lips. There were a few days my lips were painfully dry and this helped restore them to their natural state. I would say that it's almost entirely scent and taste-free. I can't detect any scent but it's possible there's a slight natural scent to it. Out of all the tubes, this is in my top 3.
  • Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Lip Balm ($24 or in the Rose Infusion Set* for $110) This is a new launch from Laura Mercier. It was first exclusive to the Rose Infusion Set, but you can purchase it separately now at Laura Mercier. It's a nourishing lip balm that smells like soft roses. It has Rosehip Seed, Kukui, and Macadamia Seed Oils helps soothe and comfort lips - I really like the way this feels on the lips. There is a slight floral taste to it - it's not bad or too strong, but definitely noticeable. I really like the way it hydrates the lips.
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm * ($25, from the Hugs and Kisses Set) is one of the most gentle lip treatments for super sensitive skin that's still hydrating. Since it's lightweight the lasting power isn't as long as some other treatments, but it still does the job at adding moisture and soothing the lips. Many lip treatments make my lips go numb (like Kiehl's and almost all the drugstore brands), whenever I'm in doubt I go with L'Occitane.
  • L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Pamplemousse Rhubarb Lip Balm ($25 from the Voyage Trio Set) is part of the Pierre Hermé Collaboration. It has the most delicious grapefruit scent to it and adds a tiny bit of moisture. As a quick fix it's good, but the formula is pretty light in terms of moisture and texture. If you don't mind reapplying the scent is heavenly, but if you're looking for a deep treatment, you may want to pass.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy* ($12, or in the FAB to the Rescue Sampler Set $32 and Freshen Up Duo $15) This is a life-saver for dry lips. It's got a minty scent which I'm not the biggest fan of, but it's a pleasant mint. It's super smooth and emollient and has just the right texture of creaminess to it. It gives the lips instant relief and really helps with dry lips.
  • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne ($26, swatched here, Smashed swatched here) is a tinted treatment, but it's pretty much clear. This is one of the best lip treatments I've tried. It's super plush and hydrating. I use it on no-makeup days and it fixes dry lips like magic.
  • Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12) is a long-time favorite. There are two formulas of lip balm, both are equally good. I think the Mojito one is fun because it's scented in a fun mojito flavor. It has a clear almost gel-like consistency. I like the way this feels on the lips the best out of all the lip balms. It's moisturizing and you can feel it, but it's not heavy or greasy.
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Twist Up Sticks and Oils

lip oil clarins hourglass nuxe lip balm caudalie lip balm

Last but not least, a few others in oil and stick format:
  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Confort Oil in Honey* ($24) Lip Oils were really popular this time last year. I tried a few different brands and found I didn't really like the concept of oils because many just felt too runny and thin. The Clarins is phenomenal though. It does offer instant comfort and a natural shine. Honey is pretty much clear on the lips but it has a thickness to it which prevents it from feeling like it will slip off your lips. Cafe Makeup did a review on the pink version. I think her thoughts and review are excellent.
  • Hourglass No. 28 Tinted Lip Treatment Oil in Icon* ($42, review here) is also tinted. I've tried both the original clear and tinted version. Both have a really good nourishing formula I find unique and extremely hydrating. The red one is fun for holiday and pretty sheer/natural so if you're a neutral lip lover like me, it's definitely wearable. It's one of the deeper treatments I've tried for lips - it has a press pump to dispense product. I think it's definitely worth the splurge.
  • Nuxe Lip Moisturizing Stick Rêve de Miel ($9) is something I've loved and used up. The stick for right now is probably too light in the sense that it doesn't give me enough moisture. If you're a Reve de Miel fan, go for the pot instead.
  • Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12, also in this Winter Favorites Set or Winter Duo) this is my favorite twist up tube balm. It has a really nice fruity fresh scent and taste to it. It glides on the lips easily. It hydrates my lips nicely. I used up the tube from last year's post and repurchased it in one of the duos.
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If you're looking for a new lip treatment I hope this roundup helps give you some ideas of what to try. My bottom line:

Top Formula Picks for Fall/Winter Weather

Most hydrating formulas:

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment
Bite Agave Lip Mask (any of the colors)
Dior Creme de Rose
Nuxe Rêve de Miel (pot)
Clarins Lip Oil

Best for everyday, lightweight but still moisturizing:

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm
Tatcha Camellia Lip Balm

Best in luxury:

Hourglass Lip Oils

Ones I'd pass on if I could do it over:

L'Occitane Pierre Herme Pamplemousse Rhubarb - nice but not hydrating enough
Fresh Sugar Nourshing Lip Care - just not what I expected

As always, I'd love to hear about your favorites! If you have any tried and true - please share in the comments. 



Some press samples included in this post indicated with a * from L'Occitane, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty, Hourglass, Clarins.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Festive Beauty Ornaments, Charms and Crackers


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This holiday season there are so many cute beauty gifts and sets. In case you're looking for a festive beauty gift that comes in cute packaging to save time on wrapping, I've rounded up some cute ideas that I call quick and easy gifts. You can pick up multiples without breaking the bank and have some on hand for last minute gifting. They can also make cute stocking stuffers or add-ons to something like a chic book, a bouquet of flowers or baked goods.

I'm smitten with the Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Cracker. The Rhubarb and Rose Cracker has a full-size hand cream in it.

This Christmas, Charlotte Tilbury brought back her Mini Lipstick Charm Set again this year which is good because even though they are uber tiny, they are so so cute. Swatches of Bitch Perfect and Penelope Pink in this post here.

L'Occitane never disappoints for gifting any time of year really. Year over year I buy most of my gifts from them because it never fails to make friends and family happy. There are so many good Hugs & Kisses Hand and Lip Duos this year. My favorite is the Pierre Hermé Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli which surprised me because I love Jasmin scents for the home, but rarely like to wear them. The Pamplemousse-Rhubarbe duo is perfect for any grapefruit/citrus scent lover. Other classics include the Shea Butter and Delightful Rose.



Hope you have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Loving Right Now


Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week is going well so far. A few things I'm loving right now, especially since the weather seems to have shifted overnight here in Southern California. It's still relatively warm compared to most parts of the US, but we've had some rain, lots of wind and dry weather. My skin has definitely felt the impact and my lips and skin have felt dry so I've needed to switch things up.

For lips I've been loving the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment that I picked up from Sephora. It comes in a sleek little squeeze tube and has an angled applicator so you can apply it without using fingers. It's hydrating and feels lush on the lips. I'll give an update later as I'm testing a few new lip treatments. Also great for dry skin is the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Oil-Free Essentials Set (not shown). I bought this a couple months ago and loved the items but found them too hydrating when we had super warm and humid weather in the high 80s (I thought fall weather would never arrive here). For right now, the cleanser and toner are just what I need to mix into my routine on days I feel extra dry.

These days I feel like I can't live without the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist*, the travel size is perfect to keep in my purse and I love that the mini packaging is just as good as the full size. Be sure to check out their gift sets this year. Their packages are beautifully wrapped so you really don't need to do any extra work if you gift something.

For under eye concealer, I'm still loving the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher Concealer as the best under-eye and spot cover up (I use Shade 3). Pigment and coverage is impressive but it blends out to a completely natural looking finish. Swatches of all the shades in this post here. Because many of you have been asking about the newer Mini Miracle Eye Wand Dynamic Duo Lift and Light Reflector, I picked up one in Shade 3. I'll report once I've given it a thorough test drive.

Another staple in my daily makeup rotation is the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base. Many of you have repeatedly asked what my favorite eye base is, and it's the one from Edward Bess. It evens out the lids and primes it for eyeshadow. It extends eyeshadow wear and doesn't crease. Many skin-tone colored primers dry out my lids or make them look wrinkly, the Edward Bess smooths out the skin and makes it glow naturally (even though there is no shimmer).

For color, I'm obsessed with Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Versatile (swatched here), Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Liquid Eyeshadow* in Bronze (swatched here), and Chanel Rouge No. 19 Le Vernis (released last year, but still available at Chanel.com, swatch here).

I've been testing a number of different hand creams. I did a roundup of my staples back in January. I'll have another update soon. The Molton Brown Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment* and Hand Exfoliator* are really quite amazing. I've never done a hand scrub but the exfoliating treatment is incredibly helpful in scrubbing off dead skin and also offers hydration leaving hand silky smooth and feeling really good. (Not to mention is smells delicious.) The Alba White Truffle Hand Cream is ultra hydrating. 

Also not to be missed is the L'Occitane x Pierre Hermé Collaboration. Both brands have a special place in my heart and I couldn't be more thrilled that they partnered for a holiday launch. The packaging on the Hand Cream Trio is to die for. As soon as I saw it online I immediately went to my local store to pick it up. Unfortunately it appears to be an online exclusive in the US. If you're one to shop in store, there is a lot to choose from - but don't forget to check online for exclusive sets. The gift sets this year are so beautiful (more on these soon). There are some cute Lip/Hand Duos and other items that are only available online. (I ordered multiples of the trio and duos.)

Last three things I've been loving are the Gourmand Eau De Parfums from Urban Outfitters. I have Thé Matcha which is a super clean fresh scent. I have several others on my wishlist. Truffle pouches are always on my love-list. The Rose Gold Privacy Clutch is always fun around the holiday season. New for holiday is the Ivory Pearl Cranberry Pouch in Small* and Large. Right now Truffle has a 20% off sale on this color through 11/25 with code CRANBERRY at checkout.

Stay tuned for a hand cream and lip treatment roundup along with more holiday reviews and gift guides. What are you loving this week? Do you have any go-to's for dry skin during the colder fall/winter months?

P.S. The Garance Doré Book is so incredibly fun and chic!

Press samples included indicated by a * next to the items featured. All others purchased by me.

 

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