Showing posts with label DryBar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DryBar. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Hair Care Rotation - Shampoo and Conditioners


Many of you have asked for an update on my current hair care routine along with favorites. I have a two part post planned. Part 1 goes live today with a roundup of shampoo and conditioners. Part 2 will go live next week with a list of what I use for styling and treatments. I did an hair care loves roundup earlier this year and have done a few review posts but some of you prefer routine types of posts. For hair care, I wash my hair daily most of the time. There are occasions where I skip 1 day in between washes but those are rare, especially in the summer. On days I work out, I wash my hair twice in the same day. I have thick hair prone to frizz, I heat treat with a blow dryer or flat iron frequently, it's never been dyed. When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, I love trying new formulas and brands - smell is probably the most important factor for me. If it doesn't pass the smell test then I won't even try it (no matter how many raves it has).

For shampoos and conditioners, I like to rotate frequently and often times I have more than 2 sets in the shower which drives my husband nuts because of the space it takes up. He has his 1 go to, often times it's a 2 in 1 kind of product for hair and body (his favorite is Jack Black Turbo Wash). I on the other hand find that I do need different kinds. There's the everyday kind of wash, the weekly cleansing or clarifying wash and then the wash for days you need extra moisture. Not to mention the masks or leave in products. (Please tell me I am not the only one who is high maintenance with their hair.)

Today I have a roundup of 7 brands of shampoo and conditioner I've put to the test with thoughts on each one. I will say up front that when it comes to shampoo I'm the type who will keep one around even if it's not mind blowing or amazing. As long as it smells ok, cleans the hair well and doesn't make it fall out or dry, I just can't bring myself to throw out a partially used bottle.

My all time favorite that I can use daily is the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. I stock up on this during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because they either have larger sizes or value sets. (This year's set shown in this haul post.) This formula lathers well, moisturizes, strengthens, cleans the scalp well and leaves the hair shiny and healthy. Full ingredients list of the shampoo here and conditioner here. A huge part of me wants to try out all the shampoos from the brand but as some say, when you find something you love, you stick with it. In this case I've stuck with this formula.


Next best everyday is the Kerastase Cristalliste line which is designed for those with long hair. There have been a few formulas for fine or thick hair, I've tried the one for fine hair and it worked perfectly for my thick hair. It's a great everyday option and I use both the shampoo and conditioner together. It cleanses the hair and and gets the roots clean too. It's got a lightweight feel that leaves the hair feeling clean and bouncy with a super soft feel. I gave a few partially used bottles to a friend with long fine hair because she was curious about it but didn't want to splurge without trying. She loved it too.


One line I had high hopes for is Ouai created by Jen Atkin. I started out testing a few styling products from Birchbox which included the Ouai Dry Shampoo and Wave Spray. I adore both and think they are worth trying out. More on both of these in my upcoming styling post. Since I had such a great experience with a couple of the styling products, I bought the Treatment Masque (pack of 8), Volume Shampoo and Volume Conditioner from Space NK. The Treatment Mask is great but the packaging isn't the easiest to use. Both the Volume Shampoo and Conditioner were just ok for me - perhaps my expectations were just too high. They are both described as containing "Smart technology" to replenish moisture and lift strands. I found neither added volume. That being said I have yet to find a volumizing shampoo that will actually add volume to my thick hair (I've tried formulas from Living Proof, Phyto, Drybar - all lines I like, but the volumizing shampoos just don't work for me). I've read a lot of reviews that this does work for those with fine hair. For me the Volume formula does a good job at cleansing daily - I do need to use both the shampoo + conditioner because the shampoo alone can be a bit drying on my hair type. I won't be repurchasing but it's one I can't bring myself to throw out. (If you have any Ouai on your list there are still a few more days of the SpaceNK Explore Online Promotion, enter code BEAUTYNOW at checkout to save $20 off orders $100 or more until Aug 2nd.)


Bumble and Bumble is a line I'm always keen on trying out. Some of the shampoos and conditioners are heavily fragranced though and too strong so I've often tried minis or sets, used them up, but never repurchase. Two that I started using are the Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and Creme Rinse Conditioner and WOW these get a huge thumbs up from me. Based on what I've read from other reviews it seemed to be best suited for those with thicker hair. I have thick hair and love this. It doesn't necessarily add volume but it gives my hair that smooth fluffy beachy look. The scent is mild enough that I don't notice it after rinsing. I can air dry my hair after using this duo and it gives a natural slightly beachy look.


Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo in the Gentle Radiance formula for Normal Hair and Scalp. I previously reviewed the Shampoo and tried it by itself. The shampoo by itself is good once in a while as a clarifying shampoo, but for everyday I found it a bit drying. I used up a few bottles entirely and since I didn't use it daily, they lasted a long time. I was just sent a sample of the Cleansing Oil Conditioner which is another rinse out product and was completely blown away with the combination of the two. The Shampoo by itself was good but not great. Add the Conditioner to the mix and my hair and scalp are left super smooth, tangle free, naturally shiny and also gives it the ability to air dry without any frizz. Most of the time I have to blow dry or add some kind of oil or cream to tame the frizz. I don't use conditioners everyday even if I do wash the hair daily - I find most of the time I just don't feel like I need it. This Cleansing Oil Conditioner is really a good one. I will definitely be repurchasing it once it's used up.


Oribe Cleansing Creme for Moisture and Control is a favorite I've repurchased multiple times. Unfortunately it's sold out online at Space NK so you can't buy it to take advantage of the promo going on right now, but you can find it at places like Birchbox or Neiman Marcus. It could almost go into the treatment category for me, I don't use it daily because I just don't need that much added moisture, but it helps rebalance and rehydrate the hair and scalp. It tames frizz, adds shine and leaves hair feeling super soft.


New to me is Gloss Moderne which I've seen at Space NK quite a few times. In terms of shine shampoos, I find a lot are great as a 1 to 2x per week use kind of product otherwise they get heavy-feeling and weigh down my hair. The R+Co Moonshine Shampoo and Conditioner were both at the top of my list in terms of scent, shine and performance. I've used up a few bottles of both but haven't repurchased for a while. The Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Shampoo and High-Gloss Conditioner have a similar effect but they both have a lush vanilla scent. I have to say that I had low expectations on this one before trying because the reviews are so mixed. I was beyond impressed with how this performed on my long thick hair - it restored shine and left the hair looking healthy and super glossy. Even though my hair is not color treated, the summer sun and heat has turned it into a reddish color about 2-3 shades lighter than it normally is. The heat from the sun also leaves the ends of my hair looking dry so they need a little something extra to get it back to it's normal state. I really liked how the High-Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner added shine without weighing it down. I was able to use it three days in a row without it feeling heavy or without giving the hair the weighed down look. I will use these up to the end and I do really like these. Although for the shine and gloss effect, I think a styling product could provide the same result.


A few of you have asked for a full list of every shampoo and conditioner I've ever tried - to recall all the ones I've bought and used up would be a monumental task as I've tried a lot. There are very few that stand out to me as ones I loved and repurchased multiple times, so I can list those: Drybar Happy Hour Shampoo, Drybar Happy Hour Conditioner, Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo. In addition to those, other favorites include the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair, Kerastase Cristalliste and Oribe Cleansing Creme.

In terms of new discoveries for me, I'm beyond impressed with the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Conditioner and Bumble Surf Collection - both work extremely well for my thick hair.

If you're looking for a good shine/gloss finish shampoo, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the Gloss Moderne Shampoo and Conditioners - some may feel they are overpriced but I do think they are solid performers. I've totally been in that place where I really like a product but don't repurchase because of the price. It doesn't mean something is bad - just that there are other alternatives I'd rather spend my money on. I hope this won't deter you though - the Gloss Moderne line is really quite good.

If you're looking for good travel-sized or trial-sized sets, I find that some brands will occasionally have a good travel set to try items out. Birchbox has sets of minis by product type with a mix of brands for you to test out multiple formulas which is nice. They're $18-$28 each, some options include the Frizz Fighters Kit, Wavy Curly Hair Kit, Coily Curly Hair Kit and Beachy Keen Hair Kit.

In terms of finding a good volumizing shampoo and conditioner for my thick hair, I'm still looking for one that has that wow factor. I think many work well for fine hair but hair type does make a huge difference in performance. Some may feel that if you have thick hair you don't really need a volume boost, I sometimes do need it and that's where styling products come into play.

Don't forget there are still a few more days for the Space NK Explore Promotion (US online only). Details in this post here but you can enter code BEAUTYNOW at checkout to save $20 off orders $100 or more. A few of you mentioned the code did not work for you - the issues have been fixed and it should work as long as you have non-sale items in your cart. The Space NK team did tell me if it still does not work you should be able to call their customer service and they will be able to help you. Brands they carry featured in this post include Oribe, Ouai, Bumble and Bumble, Gloss Moderne.

What are your favorite shampoos and conditioners for the summer? Do you change things up when the seasons change or do you stick to your go-tos year round?

Press samples featured include items from the Ouai (styling products only), Shu Uemura Art of Hair, and Gloss Moderne.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hair Care Loves in Rotation


I love testing new things in hair care and playing with different kinds of shampoos, oils and tools. Since the summer, my go-to daily shampoo and conditioner has been the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, but I've been experimenting with some new items and discovered some new favorites. For a bit My hair is thick and has a slight natural wave to it and extremely prone to frizz without any product or heat treatment. My hair color is natural - it's never been colored or highlighted (at least not yet). I like to switch shampoos up and alternate frequently - I wash my hair daily, so sometimes I feel like it needs more moisture, other times it needs a clarifying rinse. The two lines of shampoos/conditioners I used up recently are the Moroccanoil and R+Co Moon Shine. If you have any favorites/recommendations please let me know what you think I should try next!

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First up is the T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer ($350, c/o). In terms of hair dryers, I've been a long time fan of Solano tools. In my experience they have been the best for my hair - they dry quickly, leave the hair shiny, smooth, glossy and frizz-free. I decided to give several other brands a try and nothing has given me the same results until I tried the T3 PROi. My beauty friend Rae raved about it and her hair always looks amazing everytime I see her - so I was thrilled to be able to try this. The PROi Hair Dryer comes with a mega hefty price tag but it does not disappoint. It far exceeded my expectations and allowed me to create a salon-quality results unlike anything I've tried before. My heart still belongs to Solano but this new one from T3 just might replace it's spot as my new favorite. (For reference, the last one I bought was the Super Solano 3600 Ion.) The T3 PROicomes with 2 detachable nozzles, three different heat settings, a cool-shot option and two different intensities/speeds. It's fairly lightweight for a full power full size dryer and easy to maneuver. The description says it's supposed to cut the dry time - if you blow dry with completely wet hair, it will not (but you'll still get amazing results). If you towel dry and then spend a couple minutes doing a rough dry first, the overall time to completely dry the hair is shortened compared to other dryers.

There are several different brushes that T3 launched. I decided to order the Freeflow Vent Brush ($17) first to try - it's a good medium size brush and allows air to flow through the hair allowing for faster dry time. I like the design - it's simple but aesthetically pleasing and seems very sturdy and well made. I've ordered a few more to try - I'll do a more detailed review once I receive them. Good hair brushes are something I feel like I'm always searching for. I have good basic tools, but most of them look meh.

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Next are three shampoos/cleansers. I'm a traditional liquid shampoo and conditioner kind of girl, but there are some really interesting products on the market that I would have never thought to use that surprised me. Maybe I'm late to the party, but I would have never thought to use scrubs or oils to clean the hair.


Above from left to right:
  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt ($52 for 250 ml, c/o) is something that is relatively new to the US. Christophe Robin is a colorist from France and launched his own salon and line of products. Net-A-Porter sent his new Cleansing Purifying Scrub for me to try a few months ago and so when I had the opportunity to meet him in person while he was in LA, I jumped at the chance. I will have a dedicated feature on more of his products soon, but in the meantime you can read about his story here. It was so great to learn about his story and the background behind the creation of his line. The Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt is an amazing clarifying product. It is a grained-paste product that you rub into your scalp. It rebalances the hair and rinses out completely without any residue left behind. It removes impurities and leaves the hair feeling squeaky clean. If you have normal to dry hair, you may need to follow with a moisture mask. For me this is a game changer. You can find his line at Net-A-Porter, Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo Gentle Radiance Cleanser x Maison Kitsune ($57 for 400 ml, c/o) has been on my radar for a while but the concept of using an oil to wash my hair just didn't seem appealing to me. Still the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo has cult-status and rightfully so. There are several formulas of the Cleansing Oil, the one I tried is the Limited-Edition Maison Kitsune in the Gentle Radiance Formula. It foams up into a really nice lather and cleans the hair really well. For me this is best used as once a week a clarifying treatment (alternating with the Christophe Robin) - at most 2x per week or on days after I work out. I do think it's absolutely necessary to follow with some kind of rinse out conditioner if you use this one as it can be stripping if you skip. Some shampoos I don't feel the need to use conditioner after, but this one you do.
  • Oribe Cleansing Crème for Moisture and Control ($44 for 8.5 oz/250 ml) is the most amazing cleansing creme I've tried. My local salon always uses some kind of cleansing creme to wash my hair before a cut but I'm particularly sensitive to scented hair products so I never end up purchasing what they use even though the results are amazing. I love all things Oribe although the line is fairly spendy so I feel like I have to keep this brand at arm's length or it can get very expensive at the rate that I go through hair products. This one moisturizes perfectly and leaves the scalp feeling well nourished but clean. Hair is perfect afterwards - tangle free, smooth and left light and bouncy with a bit of natural shine. I don't need to search for any other cleansing cremes as I have found THE ONE with the Oribe.
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Last but not least are some hair treatments and finishing products. I'm always trying minis of hair oils, sprays, creams and what not. It takes me forever to use up anything because I have so much in rotation. Scent is a big deal to me. If a hair product smells too floral, too vanilla, too perfumey or strong, I simply won't use it - no matter how good it is.


Above from left to right:
  • Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil ($49 for 100 ml, also in this travel set) is one of my favorite hair finishing oils. The full size is very expensive but you only need a little bit to coat the ends of the hair so it lasts a long time. It adds the perfect amount of shine to the hair, especially when the ends start to look or feel dry. It is fairly strongly scented but I love the way everything from Oribe smells.
  • Drybar The Chaser Shine Cream ($29 for 100 ml) this has made an appearance on my blog many times. I like it because it adds shine and also helps as a pre-heat treatment. It maintains and controls frizz and leaves the hair feeling ultra soft. My husband likes to use this one too.
  • Shu Uemura x Maison Kitsune Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($69 for 150 ml, c/o) smells amazing and has notes of camellia, grapefruit, white essence, musk and heliotrope. This is a multi-purpose oil. The directions say you can apply it on the hair pre-shampoo or afterwards as a leave-in product. I prefer to use it after shampoo either on slightly damp hair before I blow dry or just simply as a leave in product as my hair air dries. It's nourishing but very lightweight and won't weigh down the hair or make it look greasy. Hair absorbs it quickly so there's no residue left afterwards if you touch your hair. One pump is more than enough to cover my hair (it's a little past the shoulder length). I will definitely be repurchasing this once it is used up.
  • Kiehl's Heat-Protective Silk Straightening Cream ($17 for 150 ml) this is something I bought in store a while ago. I needed something as an add on to qualify for an in store promo so I decided to try this. I had used the Creme with Silk Groom when I was in college and liked it but it can be very heavy and easy to overdo. The girl at the store recommended I try this since I heat treat my hair regularly. I really like it to help straighten the hair and keep it smooth looking. I found it makes a noticeable difference in the way the hair looks in terms of helping give a more straightened look.
  • Edward Bess Black Sea Hair Hero ($44 for c/o) is my favorite texturizing hair product. It helps add volume, smooths hair, adds texture. Full review in this post here. The bottle is huge and even with regular use it's lasted me for like forever.
  • Original and Mineral Know Knott Detangling Spray ($26 for 250 ml) is the best detangling product I've tried. Some days my hair just feels extra tangled and there are knots in my hair even after shampoo + conditioner. A few sprays of this one makes any comb or brush glide through the hair easily without any tugging or pulling. I tried this at my salon in a mini first and loved it so much I bought the full size.

That wraps it up for new hair discoveries along with favorites I consider staples. Have you tried anything from any of these lines before? If yes please let me know what you recommend. If not, I'm open to other suggestions on what you've tried and love :) Do you have any hair products you consider game changers? I'm in the market for a new liquid shampoo and conditioner - what should I try next?



Some items featured indicated with a "c/o" beside the product name were sent free of charge for review consideration. Other items purchased by me.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Beauty and Grooming Favorites


I fell in love with a lot this past month. I have a roundup of my favorites in beauty and skincare today along with my husband's October grooming lineup. Cases shown above are from Muji (left) and Truffle (right).

Skincare and Haircare

Up first is hair care and skin care. The items in last month's roundup are still in heavy rotation right now but instead of re-posting everything, I've highlighted some new favorites for this month.


Featured above from left to right:
  • Original and Mineral No Knott Detangling Spray is something I've been loving for months now. I bought this in a travel set online which has mini sizes. It's a miracle worker for my hair - I spritz it on after I wash my hair and I can brush my hair without any tugging or pulling. I've ordered the full size from Net-A-Porter. It has a lightweight clean scent, the product is certified organic and made in the USA. It adds a tiny bit of shine.
  • Kate Somerville Age Arrest Serum is something I've been using the past two months and it's possibly my new favorite serum. It's part of the anti-aging line and it's a skin renewal product. It contains tetrapeptides which help support collagen and elastin production. It also has marine extracts to reduce lines, wrinkles and sooth skin. One to two pumps of this gives the skin a smooth base and it really does make lines disappear in front of my eyes. It gives the skin a smooth look and feel unlike any serum I've tried before. I haven't tried the cream or other items in the line but I'm super curious now.
  • Pixi Glow Tonic has been raved about on so many blogs I read (it seems to have a cult following) I had to stop by my Target to check it out. I picked up the mini size and have been using it daily (morning and night after washing). I can't say that it gives my skin a glow, but as an exfoliating toner I am impressed. It brightens and makes the skin feel clean and hydrated. There's no stinging. It's very gentle. For those who are anti-alcohol in skincare this one is alcohol-free. It's seemed to keep my skin clear and texture seems better.
  • Molton Brown Replenishing Hand Cream in Gingerlily is a go-to right now. I'm really a huge fan of all the Molton Brown hand creams, but there's something refreshing and bright about Gingerlily that lifts the mood. You can also find it in this set here and also here. This weekend they have a sale at Moltonbrown.com. Receive 10% off orders $65+ with code FALL10, receive 20% off orders $95+ with code FALL20 at checkout.
  • L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Mist is one of my top two picks for face mists right now. The bottle dispenses a superfine mist and it's ultra refreshing and lightweight. Skin feels well hydrated but not overly moisturized. I love the fresh smell it has.
  • Erborian Bamboo Waterlock has been a favorite for moisture masks. It's a gel-like green mask. I featured it a few weeks ago in my Korean Beauty roundup. You can read the full review here.

Makeup

For makeup, I've been really loving neutral lips. Lip glosses and lip sticks seem to be what I've been gravitating towards a lot lately. There are a lot of really good rich-in-pigment formulas these days.

From left to right:
  • Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 is hands down my favorite foundation brush right now. It gives smooth streak-free coverage for liquid foundations. I like the Mini #53.5 version as well for cream contours, but the full size is better for foundation. Find the full review here.
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Mascara is something I've used up and repurchased. It's something I've been reaching for because it's super dark and rich in color. The brush is well designed so it defines and separates lashes but is also volumizing. On me it doesn't smudge or flake.
  • Club Clio Waterproof Pen Liner in Kill Black is at the top of my list for glossy liquid liners. I got this in the Birchbox From Korea With Love set and I've been hooked. It dries to a glossy finish. It's cry proof (lasted through a tear-jerker movie for me). You can find it at Birchbox (waitlisted), Peach and Lily (in a set), Club Clio and Amazon.
  • MAC Vamplify Lip Glosses launched months ago. I was super late to the game with this and by the time they popped on my radar almost all the colors sold out. The good news is Spanking Haute and Tuned in restocked online. I ordered them immediately. I hope MAC makes them permanent, these are really good creamy full coverage glosses.
  • MAC Subculture is my perfect nude pink your lips but better lip liner. Swatches and roundup of neutral lipliners in this post here.
  • Chanel Glossimers in Beige Star 206 and Rose Tendre 204 are still in heavy rotation. They were part of the Les Beiges collection this year. Swatches + review here. For holiday both colors are also in this Turn Up The Shine Glossimer Trio Set.
  • For lipsticks, October's top three favorites are the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Very Victoria (reviewed here), Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose (swatches here) and Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Avante Garde (swatches here). All three are neutrals that wear beautifully for everyday.
  • The Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer in #3 has been really good for concealing under the eyes and brightening the complexion. Swatches of all the Charlotte Tilbury concealer shades in this Concealer Roundup here.
  • Last but not least is the Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight. It's still my holy grail cream luminizer. It's perfect for cheeks and eyes. I've hit pan on mine again and just opened up a new one.

Men's Grooming

My husband rounded up several of his grooming favorites from the past month. Some he tried first in sample mini sizes from various gift with purchases or samples I got for him. There are a few he liked so much that he bought the full size of. Others are repeat staples. From left to right below:
  • Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil is a lightweight pre-shave oil. According to my husband this is the best one he's tried so far. Pre-shave oils are designed to prepare the face for shaving by moisturize the skin and creating a barrier in between the skin and razor. It's been instrumental in preventing razor burn. He likes that it comes beautifully packaged in a large container. Most other pre-shave oils come in small plastic bottles. The one from Jack Black lasts longer because of the size. It also comes in glass which makes it sturdy. It has no scent which is a huge plus compared to other brands that often smell earthy or like vegetable oil.
  • Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a hand cream he got in the Men's Starter Kit. He's completely obsessed with this and keeps stealing mine even though he has two of his own. He's really picky with hand creams. Scent and texture are key because he doesn't like heavily scented hand lotions. The Kiehl's has a soft scent but it disappears after a few minutes. Texture is also important, he likes this one because it absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn't have any greasy residue but hydrates the hands really well. You can find it in a number of gift sets this holiday. If you're looking for a good one for your dad, brother, boyfriend or husband, the Costello Tagliapietra for Kiehl's Ultimate Man Full Body Refueling Set is a really good one. It also has the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap which is another staple/favorite.
  • Baxter of California is a line my husband recently started testing. He ordered the Herbal Mint Toner and Shave Tonic to start. In terms of toner he says he's not a toner kind of guy but since I told him it's something I found essential in my skincare routine he looked for one to purchase and test out. He's liked the Baxter Herbal Mint Toner enough to keep using it (he's about 1/2 way through the bottle). It makes his skin feel clean but moisturized. He likes that it has Witch Hazel which helps calm the skin. The Shave Tonic is something he says is kick a** awesome. For him packaging is key and the glass sturdy bottle and color of the green liquid is amazing for him. He uses this as the first step in shaving to prep the skin. It's also really good post-shave to moisturize the skin.
  • For hair Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade is still a regular staple for grooming his hair (it's also my favorite). It's great for shine and styling but for him, once he puts it on, he can't touch his hair for the rest of the day or else there is glossy residue that will transfer to hands, hats or the headrest of the car. He tested out a mini size of Baxter's Grooming Lotion and says that it's better for everyday. It does the same thing and makes hair more manageable but without the added shine. Comparing the two, he prefers the Baxter feel and look. His hair is still soft and not greasy. However he likes the way the Drybar Chaser looks better.
  • For cologne, I got him a mini sample of Dior Sauvage (Sephora Beauty Insider 250 point perk). He likes it as a good everyday cologne that is suitable for year round wear. He says the intensity is just right that it's strong enough to smell manly but not so overpowering that it's overwhelming. In terms of lasting power he says it lasts just as long as Tom Ford and Chanel. It will stay on through lunch time before he notices it disappears. The scent is mild enough that he can touch up mid-day without feeling like he doused himself with cologne. He likes it enough that he's willing to buy the full size.
  • Harry's After Shave Lotion is one of his favorite after shave lotions because of the packaging and texture. He likes that it moisturizes the face and helps the skin heal after shaving. It smells clean and isn't heavy. The dispenser pump packaging is a huge plus for him.
  • Last but not least is the Nuxe Men 24 Hour Protection Deodorant. I bought this for him since he liked the Men's Shower Gel from the line. He's usually not a fan of rollerball deodorants but he gave this a try and it's the best men's deodorant he has tried. It has no alcohol or aluminum salts. It dries quickly, after he showers and puts it on, it's dried by the time he puts on his shirt. It leaves no white marks or residue. It prevents sweaty patches on the shirt. It is the best thing he's tried that prevents under arm odor. He has super sensitive skin that peels or gets irritated with a lot of deodorants, with this one his skin is perfectly fine without any reactions. You can find it at a number of different places. I've ordered from Nuxe. He's ordered some from Amazon.com.
That wraps up our October beauty and grooming favorites! I hope enjoyed reading about what we tested and loved this past month. As usual I'd love to hear about your top beauty and grooming favorites. If you have any new discoveries please share in the comments!



Press samples in this post sent for review consideration include items from Kate Somerville, Molton Brown, Buxom Cosmetics and Erborian. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

On My Radar / New in Beauty


Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you've had a great weekend. A few things on my beauty radar right now (from top left, clockwise):
  • Chanel has a new mini launch with some new products. There are two new Joues Contraste Powder Blushes in Golden Sun and Vibration along with a new highlighter called Infiniment Chanel Illuminating Powder. I bought one blush and the highlighter - they are almost too pretty to touch. I hope to start testing soon.
  • For holiday Hourglass has launched their Ambient Lighting Edit palette. It comes with three Ambient Lighting Powders, two Ambient Lighting Blushes and one Ambient Light Bronzer. It looks phenomenal - however since I already own five of the six colors individually and in other palettes, I think this will probably be redundant to own. I use the powders I have regularly and have yet to hit pan in any of them (they last forever!).
  • I've been on a foundation brush kick - I've been testing a number of different ones in search for a cheaper alternative to my holy grail Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush. I'll have a roundup very soon, two of the latest I've tested include the MAC #196 Slanted Foundation Brush and the new Chanel #8 Two in One Fluid and Powder Brush.
  • Tatcha has a new Soothing Indigo Mini Set. It has travel sizes of the Rice Enzyme Powder, Recovery Cream, Silk Hand Cream and Body Butter. The Indigo line is really good for sensitive skin that is prone to irritation. Anytime my skin is dry, itchy or irritated, this line works wonders to soothe the skin and calms down redness. (There's a promo code CLEAN20 to receive a complimentary travel-size Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil on any order over $20. Offer expires 9/30/2015)
  • Truffle has some new products for fall. They've launched a new Privacy Wristlet in black and cabernet. The cabernet color also comes in their document cases, clarity clutches and privacy clutch (it's gorgeous!).
  • Lipstick Queen has a new full pigment lipgloss called Seven Deadly Sins. There are six colors available online from Space NK. In a season filled with new lip products, formulas and colors, I do not need another lipstick or lipgloss - but somehow I'm still intrigued by these. Lust looks like the perfect berry red based on online swatches.
  • Drybar products just launched at Nordstrom.com! Both my husband and I swear by The Chaser Shine Cream. Other favorites of mine include the Mai Tai Spritzer and Hold Me Hair Clips. I've loved everything I've tried from the line.
  • YSL has launched four new Matte La Lacque Couture Nail Lacquers. I'm not a fan of the matte nail look, but  I might make an exception for the YSL formula (the glossy ones are really really good).
What's on your beauty radar this week?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July Beauty and Grooming Favorites


The month of July has flown by so quickly I can't believe it's already over. It's been a while since I've shared my monthly favorites so I decided to try something new - I've compiled a list of favorites in skincare, haircare, makeup and grooming in a his and hers edition. My husband has always been a well-groomed man and likes testing new things but is very particular about smells, textures and performance. He will research products to death before he splurges on grooming products so I always try to bring him home samples to try when I shop at Sephora or Nordstrom. When he saw me gathering a pile of products for this post, he said wanted to participate by sharing a few of his favorite grooming products too. I hope you enjoy this roundup of favorites we've been testing for the past month!

First up for me include fragrance, body, skin care and hair care favorites.

  • It was love at first smell with L'Artisan Mûre et Musc Eau de Toilette. This tiny Coffret Miniatures Set is the cutest thing ever with my two favorites the Mûre et Musc and Las Chasse Papillons. It's too small to have a spritzer so you have to dab it on the skin but it's perfect for a clutch or small bag.
  • For body I've been loving the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for a dry body oil. It absorbs into the skin quickly and has an amazing smell. You can often find the deluxe minis online from https://us.nuxe.com/ - they have lots of good promos from time to time.
  • For the face I've been loving the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist. It's hard to describe the smell but it is very fresh and slightly sweet/citrusy. It makes the skin feel nice and hydrated and has a lightweight feel.
  • Beautylish has finally started carrying the travel sized Bioderma Sébium and Sensibio H20 Cleansing waters separately. They are the perfect size and price to try them out before buying the full sized versions. I'm obsessed with mini sized beauty products - these are beyond cute.
  • The Drybar Mudslide Hair Mask is the most incredible hair treatment that I've tried. I bought mine from Sephora in store (I don't see it online, but it is available as a mini in this set). It leaves the hair super soft and silky. After I use it I can air dry my hair without it getting frizzy (no hair dryer or flat iron needed). I use it as a weekly treatment.
  • R+Co is a new brand I've been experimenting with. I picked up two of the items from Space NK and the Moon Shine Shampoo and Conditioner are among the best I've tried ever. It cleans the hair really well and leaves it feeling well hydrated, soft and shiny smooth without being too heavy. It leaves the hair feeling bouncy and weightless all day long. Since it is a hydrating product I wouldn't recommend it for daily use but I like it 2 to 3x per week (I wash my hair daily but alternate shampoos). It smells amazing with a mix of orange, cardamom, fig, guava and amber. It sounds like a lot but it's not too sweet or rich in scent.


My husband's name is Andrew. He's always been a well-groomed man for which I am really grateful. For his group of favorites, he's tested a few new brands in shaving and also pulled out some tried and true staples to share in this month's roundup. In case you shop for any of the men in your life, he says he hope this is helpful for gift ideas or recommendations if they are looking for something new to try.
  • The L'Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant is an alcohol-free and aluminum salts-free deoderant (two of the things he checks for on the ingredient list). This one from L'Occitane lasts all day and smells really good. It doesn't make his skin peel or feel oily. The entire Cedrat line has a good mix of masculine citrus and wood.
  • For skin his go-to moisturizer is the Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. He uses this daily and it leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft. It dries down to a nice feel so there is no oily or greasy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. He does wish it came with a higher SPF but so far it's the best one he's tried and he's stuck with it for quite some time.
  • For shaving, two brands have been in rotation. First his regular go-to is the L'Occitane Cade Plisson Razor + Shave Cream Duo. His quick take on each:
    • The L'Occitane Shave Cream is the best he's tried because it's thick, it lathers up well, and it keeps the blade from touching his skin. According to my husband, the cream is gentle with a clean scent and doesn't break out his skin.
    • The L'Occitane Plisson Razor is crafted in France and comes with wood, chrome and brass handle. These come with the Gillette Blades that are easy replace. He likes the look of the wooden handle and the shape is tapered and long so it fits well into his large hands and won't slip while he shaves.
  • Harry's Shaving Sets come in several options. He tried the Truman Set which is priced at $15. It includes 1 Truman Razor Handle, a 3.4 oz shave cream, 3 German Engineered Blade Cartridges and 1 Travel Blade Cover. The packaging and presentation for the price point is all on point. According to my husband, he believes this is truly is the best shaving set for the price (he says drugstore prices can't even beat all that is in the box for $15).
    • The Truman Razor is well designed and even though the handles are plastic, it's very good quality with some weight to it so it doesn't feel cheap. He likes the modern look and design and the blades are good for the price but not quite as sharp as Gillette.
    • The Shave Cream is ok - the packaging is on point and it does the job but it has a slight menthol scent and isn't as thick as the L'Occitane (which gives him a better shave). He still thinks it's definitely worth trying out. He ordered the Foaming Gel to give it a try.
  • For scent, his go-to these days is the Chanel Bleu de Chanel. He likes the travel size because it's easy to carry in his briefcase and also doesn't take up a lot of space on his desk at his office. He says it's got a good masculine scent (that's all he gave me for the description, lol).
  • For the hair, his favorite styling product is the Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade. He's claimed several of my tubes as his own. He likes this because it's lightweight and keeps the hair looking groomed and soft. It helps manage his hair without feeling or looking greasy. I agree with him and like how it adds shine and makes the hair soft - it lasts all day and leaves the hair feeling soft. Because we use it daily, we've gone through around 8 tubes already.
  • Last but not least he's obsessed with the Muji clear flat zip pouches. The website is under construction but the options we bought are shown here. He likes the texture and feel.
That wraps up our July favorites for beauty and grooming. As always I would love to hear what your favorites were for the last month. If you have any recommendations for men grooming products my husband says he is open to suggestions! Also if any of you or if the men in your life know of any good men's grooming blogs - please shoot me an e-mail or let me know in the comments below :)

This post features some items that were sent for review consideration including the Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquers, Harry's Truman Set, L'Occitane Cedrat, Clarins Lip Perfectors and Burberry Shell Eyeshadow. All other items purchased by me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

T3 Featherweight Compact Dryer + SinglePass Compact Flat Iron Set - Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusive 2015


I picked up the T3 Compact Styling Set ($150, limited-edition set) from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It's a two-piece value set that comes with the Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer (retails separately for $150) and SinglePass Compact Flat Iron (retails separately for $79). I've had the compact dryer on my wishlist for a while and the sale helped me pull the trigger. Both are very compact and perfect for travel or if you have limited space in your bathroom. I've been testing both for a few days and have comparisons to other styling hair tools that I currently own.


The T3 Featherweight Compact Dryer is really well designed. It comes in a simple sleek black design with a removable nozzle. I like that it's lightweight but still has a lot of power. The noise level is minimal, it's designed with a quiet motor which you can still hear but it's not as loud as others that I've tried. The handle absorbs vibration from the motor which is nice so it's not bothersome if you have to dry your hair for an extended amount of time. It comes with 2 speeds and 2 heat settings along with a cool shot option. I have thick hair that gets frizzy without any hair treatment (product or styling tool) so it takes a long time for me to dry my hair. Dry time with this one was fairly quick - about 15 to 20 minutes when dried in sections.

I photographed the dryer in my hands so you could get a sense of the size. It's small and compact but not too small. I like that it has a folding option which makes it nice for travel or storage. (On the nails is Chanel Le Vernis in Chataigne, new for fall.)


I now own three hair dryers with this purchase: T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer, Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer and a mini from Original & Mineral. The best ones I've owned were from Solano, in particular the Supersolano which is hands down well worth the price - it makes the hair ultra sleek and shiny and doesn't overheat the hair. I went through two and after my second one died (after about 6 years) I decided to try new things. I wish I hadn't because they are just so good.

Onto the ones I own. I've had the Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer for quite some time and really like it. It dries the hair nicely, it's large but not heavy, noise level isn't too loud and it comes in a fun bright yellow color. Since it's a larger dryer there is more room for options. It has three temperature settings, two speeds and self-lock cool shot so you don't have to hold it down with your thumb.

I bought the Original & Mineral one that came in a Net-A-Porter set which is super cute and compact. It has a lot of power for something that tiny, but unfortunately the design is very simplistic and the handle doesn't absorb any vibrations so you can feel it in your hand. It does a good job at drying the hair quickly though which is nice.

The T3 Compact Dryer has less power compared to the Drybar, but more power than the O&M. I've brought the Drybar one with me on trips although it does take up a lot of space. The T3 is much more travel-friendly. It's also dual voltage 125V/250V for worldwide use while the Drybar option is 100V/120V and requires a step-down converter + adapter.


Close ups of the options:


The T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron is basically a free add-on with the Nordstrom Anniversary Set. I purchased the SinglePass Straightening Iron (full size) a number of years ago and hated it. It left my hair frizzy and made it look fried. Based on the number of rave reviews on the compact version, I decided to give it a try since the set came at a really good price. The SinglePass Compact Flat Iron performs much better than the Full Size (maybe I had a dud), but I would say for me it doesn't really live up to the name "single pass." It takes at least two passes per section for my super thick hair but it does leave the hair shiny, sleek and smooth. I could probably section off smaller amounts of hair but it would take 3 times longer to straighten everything. The iron is really well designed and comes with a cap which I wish all flat irons came with.


Comparisons to two other flat irons I own. GHD Bird of Paradise is a full-size flat iron that measures 26.5 cm long with plates that are 2.4 cm x 9 cm. I've had this since December of last year and really like it although out of all the flat irons I've owned, the HAI Ceramic Convertible Iron is hands down the best one I've tried (mine died after I dropped it on a hard surface, but it lasted 4 years before it stopped working).

The CHI Smart Titanium Ceramic Travel Iron is fairly new to me. I received this one at a QVC event a few weeks ago and really like it. I can't find the temperature listing anywhere but I was told it heats up to 390 degrees. This one measures 22 cm long with plates that are 2 cm x 7.5 cm. For my hair it does a better job at straightening with a single stroke but it is very small so it takes longer to straighten my hair.

The T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron by comparison heats up to 410 degrees. It's similar in size to the CHI. The T3 Compact Iron is 22 cm long with plates that are 2 cm wide x 7.8 cm long.

I'm overall really pleased with the set. I had the Compact Dryer on my wishlist and the Flat Iron with this set was an added bonus. I really like the Dryer - it performs well, it's compact and well designed. It will be my travel dryer for all my upcoming trips.

For the flat iron I have mixed feelings. With any travel sized flat iron I think it should be expected that it won't work the same as a full sized flat iron for my super thick hair. The T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron works well but it takes more time for me to straighten my hair compared to ones from GHD and HAI. Out of the two travel flat irons I featured, I have a slight preference for the CHI, although the two are very close in performance. The T3 has a more visually pleasing design and the cap is an added bonus for me (even though many brands have an extra storage or carrying case for travel).

That being said I have close friends who are die-hard loyal fans of T3 and swear by the line. Since I don't need two travel flat irons, I will probably be regifting this one to a friend.


The T3 Compact Styling Set retails for $150 and is currently a Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive (it's a $229 value). In case you miss out on the sale this month, you can purchase the Featherweight Compact Dryer and SinglePass Compact Flat Iron individually. I give the compact dryer a huge thumbs up and the compact flat iron a semi-thumbs up mainly because I am super picky about flat irons in general, but it's great for the size and travel purposes.

Did you check out the T3 Styling Set from the sale? Do you have any T3 favorites? If not what are your favorite styling tools?

The CHI flat iron was gifted as a press sample. All other items purchased by me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Travel Beauty For Three Weeks in Europe


Today I have a roundup of what makeup I brought with me on my 3-week vacation. My travel beauty picks for makeup and tools were packed into my Anya Hindmarch In Flight Patent leather-trimmed travel case and MustaeV Bloom Pouch (liquids, skincare and fragrance packing in this post here). These kept everything compact, organized and made everything relatively easy to find. Above photo: Longchamp Expandable Tote, Marc by Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators, sandals by Hermes. Beauty details broken down below.

First up makeup breakdown. I limited myself to 1 eyeshadow palette. I usually almost always bring one of the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes with me on travel because they are versatile and can be used to create a number of looks. I decided to try something new for this trip and brought the MAC Nordstrom Naturals Palette with me instead. It worked just as well to create a number of different looks - I like that there's a good mix of matte and shimmer. If you're limited on space - there are some good browns that can double as brow powder.

For face products I brought a mini tube of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Moritz (currently only in one size, I was lucky it was a good shade match). Other face cream products listed in my liquids post. For powder I brought my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Shade 2, I knew there was a chance I would get a tan on my trip so I brought the Chanel Powder Foundation in Beige 30 and 40 with me (40 shown above).

For cheeks products I brought the NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Craving, Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow, Edward Bess Bronzer in Daydream, Tom Ford Cream Blush in Pink Sand (discontinued) and Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Ecstasy. I definitely could have skipped a few of these but I'm one who always layers cheek products.

Eye makeup included my favorite stick shadow Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold. For pencils I brought Marc Jacobs Ro(Cocoa) which is the perfect bronzey taupe liner (it lasts all day). I also brought the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner, NARS Brow Perfector, Chanel Fresh Effect Eyeshadow in Caroube and Charlotte Tilbury Chameleon Pencil in Amber Haze. I also brought my NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia which is a good bronzey tan beige shimmer for the lids and one waterproof mascara by Guerlain.

I kept my lip products edited to one lipliner in Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. For lipsticks I brought three including Tom Ford Summer Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil and one Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Reveuse.

Tools and brushes:


Above (excuse the messy brushes, I haven't had a chance to wash them yet):

MustaeV Bloom Pouch (large, also featured here and here)
MAC 135 Large Flat Powder Brush is a new brush from MAC, it's large fluffy and flat which is perfect for a sheer dusting of powder or bronzer
MAC 239 and MAC 219 Brushes
Chanel Powder Brush is a dense brush ideal for powder foundation
Chanel Eyelash Curler (discontinued)

Several of you have asked about the Anya Hindmarch case that I've previewed on a few posts and on Instagram. I bought mine from Net-A-Porter although several have told me they've found it discounted at Duty Free locations while they were traveling. Based on online photos and reviews I couldn't tell if it was one open case with two openings or if it had two compartments. It has two compartments - one is slightly deeper than the other. It's fairly pricey for a makeup pouch but the material is very sturdy and it's very well made.



The MustaeV Bloom Pouch comes in two sizes, small and large. I discovered the line at The Makeup Show LA earlier this year and love them. I brought the large one with me on this trip. The small one was featured in this travel post back in April. I've added a repost shot of the large one below to show how it stands up.


For three weeks I brought plenty to last me the entire trip. I did miss my eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses but given the heat and warm weather a good portion of the trip was makeup-free for me so it didn't really matter. I worried that skipping concealer would be a mistake but my skin has cleared up pretty nicely in the past few months so for face coverage, tinted moisturizers and powder was enough.

In case you missed it, how I packed all my liquids in this post here (Muji containers, clear pouches, his and hers travel skincare, fragrance and body care):

http://www.thebeautylookbook.com/2015/07/his-and-hers-travel-essentials-skincare.html





What do you like to bring with you on extended trips? Do you have any packing tips or favorite carrying cases?

The MustaeV bloom pouch and easy go brush was gifted during The Makeup Show. The Afterglow highlighter was also a gift courtesy of Edward Bess.

 

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