Showing posts with label Edward Bess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edward Bess. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fall Fragrance Loves for Him and Her

Best fall perfumes and colognes

There are so many new scents that have launched this season. I usually find one or two new scents each season that I love but this season almost every new fragrance I've tested I've fallen in love with. I have a roundup of ones I have in rotation right now along with a men's rotation for my husband. He usually sticks to the same colognes so many of the ones you'll see here have been featured numerous times. I like to switch things up frequently so some of mine are newer ones.

Up first are my favorites along with thoughts on some others I've tested:

The three most exciting fragrance launches this season for me have been from Louis Vuitton, Louboutin and Edward Bess. I will have dedicated reviews coming soon on the launches but wanted to give you a roundup of highlights right now. Shown above:
  • Chanel N°5 L'Eau (c/o, reviewed here) is a light clean floral that dries down to a slightly powdery musk. Many of you have bought or tried this one too and mentioned that you either love or hate it. I really like it for the clean lively feel. It was a exclusive for a few weeks but you can find it now at all Chanel counters (for those wondering).
    • Notes include lemon, mandarin, orange, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, cedar and cotton musk.
  • L'Artisan Mûre et Musc has been a long time favorite. I discovered it thanks to one of my best friends who always smells amazing. L'artisan recently redesigned all their packaging so out of curiosity I ordered one of the new ones and was relieved to find the scent is still the same. Sometimes I worry formulas change when packaging does. In this case it's the classic berry musk.
    • Notes include lemon, orange, basil, lavender, blackberry, jasmine, musk, patchouli and oakmoss. It's one of my husband's favorites on me.
  • Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Eau de Toilette is one of my favorite Molton Brown scents, I discovered it in the hand cream and shower gel and loved it so much I bought the perfume. It's difficult to describe but it has a pink pepper, patchouli and cedarwood mix with a girly zest. They have a Discovery Set online that has 8 small spritzers of their scents you can order.
    • Pink Pepperpod notes include pink pepper, tangerine, elemi oil, nutmeg, ginger oil, patchouli and cedarwood oil.
    • This weekend their Friends and Family 20% off sale is happening through October 3 with code USFF20 at checkout. I won't have a home fragrance roundup in time before the sale ends, but their Coco and Sandalwood Candle is to die for for fall.
  • Replica Filter in Glow is a new perfume primer designed to layer with your perfume. It's an oil based spray and scented so it adheres well to the skin. I like using it alone or layering it with Replica Lipstick On afterwards. It's a soft warm citrus that feels bright but not sharp.
    • Notes citrus neroli.
  • Byredo Bal D'Afrique is one of the few sweet scents I find I can wear. It's one of the most unique fragrances I've tried and to me I smell a slight hint of apricot in it but it's not really like that at all. For me it's a bright sweet with a hint of musk, amber and cedarwood mixed in. It's floral but sweet. I find it impossible to describe. I know many of you also love this one. If you can chime in the comments how you'd describe it I would so greatly appreciate your help!
    • Notes Bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, Jasmine petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Byredo Unnamed (not shown) is a new one that I tried at Barneys over the week. It was truly love at first spritz but I decided to wait on this. I cannot find the notes on this one anywhere but if Gypsy Water and Black Saffron had a baby together this would be it. It's fresh and modern like Gypsy Water and but not as sweet as Black Saffron. I'm seriously tempted.
  • Edward Bess Spanish Veil (c/o) is one of three new scents launched by Edward. I'll have a full review on all three very soon. Right now they are exclusive online to his website. I do believe you can call the Bergdorf Goodman counter to order but they should launch online very soon. Spanish Veil is one of my favorites. It has a Byredo Gypsy Water feel but is less sweet and more woodsy. For some reason I detect a hint of licorice.
    • Notes include Pure Sandalwood, Tonka and Guaiac Wood
  • Louis Vuitton Apogee is one of seven new perfumes launched. I bought the mini set and owe you a full review. For now my top two include Apogee which is lily of the valley. I normally do not gravitate towards lily of the valley scents but this one is just one of the prettiest florals I've ever smelled. It has a powdery feel so if you don't like powdery scents this may not be for you.  It's fresh and feminine.
    • Notes include lily of the valley, jasmine, magnolia, rose, guaiac wood, and sandalwood essence.
  • Louis Vuitton Matiere Noire is my second favorite and is more of an evening night scent. If you like fragrances like L'Artisan Mure et Musc, Byredo Black Saffron or any blackcurrant kinds you will like this one. It's a woodsy blackcurrant kind of scent that is more of an evening one rather than day to day. There is a floral mix in it which makes it smell rich but feminine.
    • Notes include blackcurrant, marcissus, jasmine, patchouli, Laos agarwood.
  • Louboutin Tornade Blonde (c/o) is one of the most luxurious perfumes I own. If you have a current Saks or Neimans catalog you can find a small sampler card inside one of the pages to try. All three are really amazing but I fell in love with Tornade Blonde which is exactly what I think of when I think of a perfume kind of scent. It's a very strong floral with red rose, violet and cassis along with hints of jasmine. The bottle is just incredible in the design.
    • Notes Rhubarb, Violet Leaves, Ambrette Signature, Cassis, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmin Sambac Absolut, Orange Flower Petals Firnat, Gardenia from Brazil, Ambregris, Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, Patchouli.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon (not shown) is one of two new Nirvana additions. As you can see from my list I like soft florals but also fresh scents. Many of you prefer sweeter more gourmand fragrances and unfortunately for me my husband does not like vanilla at all. As I do not want to repulse him I do not wear it. Nirvana Bourbon is a seductive smoky vanilla. If you like vanilla scents this one is perfect for fall. You can also now find all four in this Nirvana Mini Rollerball Set for holiday which is just so cute!
    • Notes Vanilla Bourbon. Oakwood. Tuberose.
  • Viktor and Rolf BonBon (not shown) is one I had high hopes for. As a Flowerbomb fan I thought BonBon could be a great alternative. For me it has a similar vibe but is very very sweet. If you like sweet scents I suspect you might like this. For me it was too sweet, almost like a cookie or dessert.
    • Notes Tangerine, Blackcurrant, Orange, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Peach, Guaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Caramel.
For a cologne roundup I asked him to pull his favorites for right now. Many of these you'll recognize from past roundups. For him cologne and scent picks are more a year round kind of thing. He'll pick one depending on occasion whether he's looking for an everyday kind of scent or something more dressy for going out:

Bleu de Chanel, Tom Ford, Dior Sauvage

  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel is in my husband's top three favorites. Out of all the colognes he has tried this is probably the one he's asked me to repurchase for him the most. He prefers using the Refillable Travel Spray version so he can carry it with him in his briefcase or store easily in his desk at his office. It is hard for him to describe scents but he says this is a good everyday cologne that smells clean and modern but a woodsy feel. It's strong enough without being too strong.
    • Notes are citrus and wood.
  • Tom Ford Costa Azzurra is more of a summery kind of cologne. It's a unisex kind of scent that I adore and would actually wear myself except my husband says it's too masculine for me. After spritzing it a few times I actually did have to agree it's clearly more masculine with a woodsy oak with a slight green juniper mix.
    • Notes Juniper, Herbs, Green Notes, Oak, Warm Woods.
  • Tom Ford Vert des Bois (c/o) is a new one this season part of the Vert line. This too is another unisex one but still pulls more masculine. I've worn this myself this week as my husband has been traveling and it makes me think of him. If you liked Oud Wood you will really like this one. For a more feminine option the Vert Boheme is just lovely. It's on my wishlist but given my long list for now I'm relying on my mini decant sample.
    • Notes Poplar Bud. Ouzo. Woods.
  • Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb is hands down the best hot-guy date night scent I've smelled and also is my husband's favorite. He's already gone through a few bottles. Since we were such big fans of this I picked up the Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Fresh thinking it would be a more modern version. We both agree the original is still the best as by comparison the Fresh one almost has a feminine feel which is nice but the original is better.
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord.
  • Dior Sauvage (c/o) is the third in the top three colognes for my husband. He believes most men like to stick to one or two colognes versus women who like to try lots of things. For the longest time no matter what I bought him to try he stuck with the Bleu de Chanel which works, but he did get a bit bored using the same one everyday. He says if you like the Bleu de Chanel but want something different to switch things up, the Dior Sauvage is the one to go with. This marks the one year anniversary of Dior Sauvage and they launched a larger 6.8 fl oz version. My husband owns and has already gone through a few of the smaller size. He likes the way the bottle is designed with a round sturdy glass jar and magnetic cap.
    • Notes Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan.
  • Dior Sauvage Deoderant (c/o) is one I think smells amazing for a men's deodorant and matches the cologne. My husband has sensitive skin under his arms and many will make his skin peel. This one does not and lasts all day for him so it's a winner. There's a Deodorant Spray as well which I've been trying to get him to try but he's a creature of habit and uses the stick.
  • YSL L'Homme Deodorant is another winning scent for him and he says this is the best scented deoderant he's ever tried. When I bought it he had very low expectations for this because he's tried a lot and found they either didn't last or didn't smell good. The rep at Sephora swore by this one as his favorite and said "your husband won't be disappointed, I promise." So I gave it a go and I'm glad I did.
That rounds up our current scent rotation favorites for fall. I have a few others I've kept in rotation but I tried to narrow it down to my absolute favorites for right now. If I had to pick three, they would probably be Replica Filter in Glow, L'Artisan Mure et Musc and Byredo Bal D'Afrique. Out of the ones on my wishlist I'm gravitating most towards the Byredo Unnamed perfume but there are some others I still want to smell before deciding on another one.

As always I'd love to hear what you are wearing for fall. I'm also curious to hear how you buy your perfumes. I always find it overwhelming trying to decide. Do you ever buy perfume sight unseen? I try to at least test in store if I can, although sometimes I will order online after thinking about it for a while if I can't get to a store or if there are no stores that carry a specific brand. (For me no nearby stores carry Le Labo, Byredo, Frederic Malle, L'Artisan.) Let me know in the comments how you go about trying new perfumes or deciding on a new purchase!

Are there any new ones launching that you're excited about or have anything on your wishlist?

I will have dedicated reviews on the Louis Vuitton, Replica Filters and Edward Bess perfumes soon. If you want any other detailed posts let me know and I'll see what I can do to fit them in.

Press samples featured have been indicated with "c/o" next to them.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipstick

Edward Bess's Ultra Slick Lipstick ($35 each for 13 oz/3.6g, made in USA) have been a long-time favorite. The first one I bought was Pure Impulse which today still is my holy grail pinky nude. Over the years some shades have come and gone, a few new ones have been added but Pure Impulse is one of the originals that stayed. I ordered mine sight unseen many years ago and couldn't be happier I discovered his line from a photograph in a Bergdorf Goodman catalog. At that time it was the only store that carried is makeup and had I not seen it, I might have just missed out. Today you can find his line at a few more stores. I'd recommend visiting his website to stay updated on the latest store openings. For online I usually buy his products from Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman (both owned by the same parent company). Products are also available at Net-a-Porter. If you're in Paris, Colette carries his products in store.

A quick peek at the counter in Bergdorf Goodman:

The Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipstick is a medium to full coverage fig-scented lipstick. All his shades are creams, as of today there are 13 total. I find there to be a good range from light to deep, from natural to bright so there's bound to be at least one you will like. I have stuck with a few classic neutrals for years such as Pure Impulse, Tender Love, Demi Buff and Night Romance. Edward has been kind to send some over the years and he has a keen eye for matching color to skintones. If you are ever able to meet him in person I highly recommend you do so. It will be a memorable experience!

As many of you may not have immediate in person access to his product I ordered all of his shades to swatch and review for you as a reference. Having played with the line in person on numerous occasions I knew that most of the colors are colors I would wear anyways and his lipstick is so so good I think everyone should own at least one. If I were forced to wear one brand of lipstick the rest of my life it would be Edward Bess's and you can quote me on that.

Texture-wise these are creamy and feel very comforting on the lips. I usually wear them alone without a lipliner although Natural Lip Definer is a classic that works with most of the neutral lipsticks I own, not just in his line but in other brands too. You can find it swatched and compared to a ton of other lipliners here. They are fig scented but it's the best kind, not too sweet and not fake. Lasting power is good as long as you don't eat or snack. Coverage is medium to full.

Onto the colors:

Colors as I see them described below. All are creams so there's no shimmer. The finish has a slightly glossy sheen but I'd say they are more satiny and creamy. They feel amazing on the lips and are among the few that don't make my lips peel by the next day.
  • Nude Lotus is a true light pale flesh nude, this is too pale for me to wear alone but it looks amazing layered over brighter corals like Island Blossom
  • Naked Blossom is a peachy light nude neutral
  • Pure Impulse is my perfect neutral nude
  • Island Blossom is the prettiest coral peach that's bright but not garish
  • Deep Lust is a classic mahogany brown, looks good on everyone I've seen it on!
  • Midnight Bloom is a classic red
  • Desert Escape is a neutral medium pink brown (the original one used to be more brown)
  • Rose Demure is a cool-toned rose mauve
  • Demi Buff is a pinky neutral with a hint of brown
  • Tender Love is a medium rose
  • Night Romance is a classic raspberry shade (this is my mom's favorite and the only other lipstick she'll wear is by Estee Lauder so for her to like one this is a big deal)
  • Blushed Orchid is a cool-toned baby pink
  • Endless Dream is the best bright pink I've ever tried, bright but still refined

Swatched on bare lips:

One last look:

The Bergdorf Goodman Rewarding Beauty Event is happening now through the 18th online and in stores. If you're interested in other Edward Bess products you can click on the tag at the bottom of this post to see previous reviews. I'll link a few below:

Black Sea Hair Hero (the most fun review I've ever done)
Daydream Bronzer (in my Summer Bronzer Edit)

Bottom line a winner in all aspects: color selection, texture, packaging (classic!), scent and lasting power. If you're new and want to know where I think you should start for the Bergdorf Goodman Rewarding Beauty Event, I'd say:
  1. Pick one lipstick color
  2. Daydream Ultra Luminous Bronzer is my holy grail bronzer, it's not orangey, isn't frosty and gives life to the face
  3. All Over Seduction is my holy grail cream highlighter, I like Afterglow because it has more color on my skin, but Sunlight is also very good
  4. His Retractable Buff and Blend Brush is really good and super soft
  5. If you like neutral-ish kinds of lips, Natural Lip Definer will go with a lot of colors
As you can tell I'm a true Edward Bess fan. His products have never let me down and I love that in a beauty world that is constantly pumping out new innovations that he's kept a very well-edited line of classic staples that will help you look like you but make you feel like a more polished version of yourself without changing a lot.

You can find Edward Bess at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-Porter, or online at Edward Bess.

Pure Impulse, Demi Buff, Endless Dream, Tender Love, Island Blossom, Rose Demure, Naked Blossom gifted by Edward. All other shades purchased by me. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bergdorf Goodman Rewarding Beauty Event 9/15 to 9/18

There's a promotion happening now at Bergdorf Goodman called the Rewarding Beauty Event. It's available in store and online where you receive savings off purchases in three tiers. If you're shopping online use code BEAUTY at checkout (now through 9/18), savings are as follows:
  • Receive $25 off purchases $250+
  • Receive $75 off purchases $500+
  • Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
I've teamed up with Bergdorfs to share a roundup of items I consider splurge-worthy in skincare, face basics and makeup. Many of these are tried and true staples but a few are newly launched items.

Up first are a few base favorites. I'm still in the process of testing foundation and frequently rotate product. For setting powders I prefer pressed because it's less messy and just easier for me to use in general. Two holy grail setting powders for me are the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder (I use #2) and Armani Luminous Silk Compact (I use #4). Both work well to set foundation, they're great for touchups, they add just the right amount of coverage to smooth the skin without getting cakey or darkening.

For concealer, I've tried a number and have quite a few favorites, but if I were pressed to pick just one for the rest of my life it would be Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer. There is a reason why this one has reached cult status. It nearly killed me to spend this much the first round, but it lasts forever, a little goes a long way, and coverage is perfect. At my lightest I used to use Beige. About a year ago they added a few more shades so I found Almond to be a good match. Right now that I'm tan Ochre is best for me. I'll repost swatches of all the shades that I did a year ago.

For the face two of the most unique luminous cheek products include the Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush (reviewed here) and Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders (reviewed here). I've reviewed both in detail and will include swatches below for reference. The Marc Jacobs Air Blush melds beautifully with the skin and gives a natural glow of color. The Edward Bess Threads of Silk Powders are just the prettiest powders I've ever seen. They'll add shimmer without being frosted.

Marc Jacobs Air Blush:

Edward Bess Threads of Silk:

For lips plums and mauves are always what I'm in the mood for during the summer to fall transition. Left to right are:

For eyes, two staples are the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes, favorites include Pink Haze and Platinum. I already own the original Pink Haze from a while ago that was in a larger pot. When I saw this one pop up online I did not realize I already owned it until my order arrived. It's a pretty pink color you can use as a wash without getting a pink eye look. If you need something more neutral Platinum is my favorite base shade. If you remember when Tom Ford launched new quads during the spring, Honeymoon sold out and was gone for months. It's now back and has the perfect mix of warm shimmery colors for fall.

Next up are skincare splurges and staples. I really don't like spending a lot on skincare but sometimes one just has to. The best affordable line for me is Kate Somerville. I could do an entire dedicated post on the items I use and love from her line, but for now three things I swear by include:
  • Gentle Daily Wash which is the best daily cleanser for me that won't strip the skin
  • Dry Skin Saver (formerly known as her Eczema Cream) is something you can use on face and body and really does work to calm flare ups, soothe skin, moisturize and for me it reduces redness from irritation, when my skin gets irritated on the legs or arms sometimes it feels tight from the dryness and I don't want to put anything on it because products often sting when my skin flares up, this one never stings for me
  • Nourish Daily Moisturizer never lets me down and her moisturizers in the tubs come with the most innovative push pump dispenser so you don't have to worry about dipping hands or fingers into the container
In terms of luxury skincare I've had luck with La Mer and SK-II even though I am always reluctant to splurge due to the high price tag. I can say these are worth the splurge and I know many of my friends and probably some of you will agree.

  • La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream has been a favorite for me, it's a softer and lighter weight version of the regular cream (which is too heavy for me), I did not want to splurge on this so for a long time I lived off minis I got as GWPs, this is worth the splurge! For summer I've had to use this sparingly because even though it's lighter than the cream in hot humid weather it can get a bit heavy feeling.
  • La Mer Soft The Moisturizing Soft Lotion is one of La Mer's latest launches, it's been out for a few months and it took me a while to decide whether or not to buy it because it does come with a hefty price tag, for me it's almost identical in performance to the Moisturizing Soft Cream, but it's a bit more fluid and comes with a pump. I'm all about the packaging and pump as I really don't like dipping fingers into cream pots. After using this one skin feels noticeably softer by the next few days even though I only use this for day time. If I had to pick the Soft Cream or Soft Lotion, I would say I have a slight preference for the Soft Lotion.
  • La Mer The Tonic is the toner I've repurchased the most in my adult life, it never fails me, doesn't strip the skin but at the same time makes sure skin is clean and rebalanced .
  • SK-II Facial Treatment Sheet Masks are my weakness when it comes to sheet masks, I love that they are soft and feel cool upon application, skin is always left brighter and refreshed, if I could afford to use these every day I would.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is something some may find silly to splurge on, but they are worth every penny, they're thick but soft and don't leave tiny fibers in my eyes when I use them to remove mascara or eyeliner, I've lost count of how many boxes I've bought and hope they never discontinue them.

I'll be posting swatches and reviews of Tom Ford AW16 and Edward Bess Lipsticks over the next two days so you can take advantage of the savings if you're buying sight unseen.

In the meantime I hope you found this roundup helpful! If you end up ordering anything let me know in the comments :) I always love hearing about your hauls and picks. Some of you have asked for a "best of ..." series. This roundup was a little teaser with a few categories. If more of you are interested let me know in the comments and what categories you'd like to see.

To recap, enter code BEAUTY at checkout if you're shopping online at Bergdorf Goodman. Promotion runs through September 18th.
  • Receive $25 off purchases $250+
  • Receive $75 off purchases $500+
  • Receive $200 off purchases $1,000+
Many thanks to Bergdorf Goodman for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the Edward Bess Lipsticks and Powders, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer, Tom Ford Platinum Eyeshadow and Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer + Air Blushes.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hair Care Styling and Treatment Testing

When it comes to hair care creams, serums or oils I have to say that I'm just simply overwhelmed with all the options on the market. However there are so many different hair types and there is so much you can do with styling it does make sense why there are so many options. I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to styling my hair. I either blow dry and straighten or just let it air dry. For me I like to keep my hair on the medium to long side because it's easiest for me to manage and also tie up in a pony tail or bun. I have medium to thick hair that is prone to frizz. It's never been color treated although I have always been curious about the process and have been wanting to try it for a long time. My friends who have usually tell me not to though. They say once you start it's a process you can't really just say you'll take a break from and that it requires a lot of maintenance.

Back to the styling. My hair is usually heat treated with a blow dryer and often a flat iron. My two favorites are the T3 PROi (c/o) and HAI Convertible Ceramic Flat Iron. I don't mind air drying my hair on days where I'm not in a rush but I really don't like having wet hair for an extended period of time and in the past air drying usually meant it would dry to an unflattering frizz. I would say that my main concerns for styling are controlling the frizz and flyaways without having something that will weigh down the hair or look greasy as the day progresses. Since I heat treat it frequently, finding something to protect or smooth it is also important.

Quick repost from previous articles on what my hair looks like, it varies in length depending how long it's been in between cuts.

I've had a few go-to's I would call staples but this year I've acquired a number of new to me products, some press samples for review and some based on recommendations from people who said "this product is simply the best." This post has been months in the making. I've split the styling products by category and if you're looking for something new or have been interested in any of these I hope this post helps you. Sometimes I'll be in a Sephora store standing in front of the hair care section like a deer in headlights. This is going to be a long one and if you're wondering what I plan on doing with all of these, I'm passing a good portion along to friends.

Up first are some items I am always happy to test out and try which includes blow dry treatments, primers and smoothers. I really believe adding a treatment before heat helps tremendously in detangling the hair and giving a good smooth finish.
  • Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (c/o, available at Space NK) is a pre-heat styler to condition, smooth and protect hair from heat breakage. I've used this one for years in the minis that you find with GWPs. It's one of the best heat primers and smoothers I've used. It spritzes product evenly through the hair and doesn't weigh it down. It is on the sweet smelling side like a mix of fruit and vanilla which is very strong when you spray it. The good thing is it does fade after your blow dry is finished. Leaves hair feeling silky, smooth and healthy looking.
  • Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate (c/o, available at Morocccanoil and Nordstrom) is a new concentrate that can be used pre and post heat styling. For me it had a similar consistency and texture to the regular Moroccanoil but this new one comes with a pump dispenser which is genius. It comes in a glass bottle and works to smooth hair and add shine. As a huge fan of Moroccanoil I give this one a thumbs up.
  • Shu Uemura Art of Hair Wonder Worker Air Dry/Blow Dry Perfector (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair and Barneys New York) has had so many rave reviews and I had to try it out. It was a bit hard for me to find in stores near me so I ordered it online. It works to prevent frizz and smooth hair. It is scented almost like a Byredo Gypsy Water kind of vibe but a lot lighter and sheerer. Their website claims that it instantly hydrates, detangles, smoothes, conditions, boosts radiance, tames frizz, and add silkiness. It does all of them. For my hair I still need to add a finishing product on ends for shine. Other than that it's awesome.
  • Shu Uemura Art of Hair Satin Design Polishing Milk (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair and Barneys New York) is another one that many love. I was torn between Satin Design and Wonder Worker so I ordered both to see what the difference. The Satin Design can also be used as a blow dry pre-treatment. Main difference is texture and consistency. This one is more like a fluid cream versus spray. It's easy to work through the hair. Leaves hair feeling soft. Doesn't leave hair greasy and holds up well in hot weather but it is thicker in consistency compared to the spray of Wonder Worker.
  • R+Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm (available at Birchbox) is amazing. I bought this in store at Space NK but it's not listed on their website anymore. I love the way this smells and R+Co packaging is always so creative. It has a smooth fluid texture with a bit of thickness like a smooth cream.
What do you do when all the blow-dry products you've tried are amazing and have limited bathroom and storage space? Since I blow dry my hair very frequently and go through product fast, I can justify keeping all of these. I would say my recommendation for you would be based on your preference for consistency and packaging - do you like a spray, cream, pump or tube? If I were forced to pick one I would say kill me now. Just kidding - I have to give it a three way tie between the Shu Uemura Wonder Worker, Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate and Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer.
Next are beachy wave sprays or what some call surf sprays. I never thought beachy wave sprays were any good because some I've tried in the past left my hair crunchy feeling. I do know the point of a beachy spray is to give it that tousled slightly messy undone beach look, but having hair that feels soft is still essential for me.
  • Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (c/o, available at Space NK) is the best surf spray I've tried. I love the entire Surf Line and this spray gives that sea salt beachy kind of look with texture and volume. With heat treatment it does give that windswept look like it claims. I love the way the line smells which is rare for me when it comes to beach/salt sprays. It smells lightweight fresh and what I'd think of as soft and beachy.
  • Oribe Apres Beach Spray (available at Birchbox and Space NK) has been my go-to beach spray for years. I spray it on my hair and let it air dry and hair dries to a soft natural wave without any frizz. The only downside is the price - Oribe is very pricey and with aerosols I feel like you get less bang for your buck. This one gets used up quickly by me, but I know the point of product is to be used.
  • Ouai Wave Spray (c/o, available at Birchbox and Space NK) is a decent spray similar to the others in the sense it's a mist that adds texture and a natural wave. It does hold the hair in place to give it that undone look. It also has the same floral scent as the Finishing Creme, which I'll say again isn't bad, just something I'm not a huge fan of. Performance wise it works. Scent wise, I prefer the Oribe or Bumble products. This one has a slightly heavier feel on my hair.
  • Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion (c/o, available at Space NK) is now tied with the Oribe Apres Beach spray for me. I love that you shake it up to mix contents of oil and salt. It gives a softer feel to the hair compared to the Surf Spray which I really really love. The oil adds a very natural sheen. A little can go a long way. I hands down recommend this. Works well to air dry the hair to a natural finish and look.
Top two favorites are the Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion and Oribe Apres Beach Spray.

Up next are hair oils and serums. Most of these can be multi-use products to use as a pre-heat treatment and also finishing product. I usually don't like oils because I find they are easy to overdo and once you apply too much, it's not like a blush that you can tone down. For me if there's too much oil I simply just have to rewash my hair or put it up in a pony tail and hope that it helps cover a bad hair look. 
  • Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil (c/o, available at Space NK) is described as a lightweight oil to add shine. Reviews are mixed and I'm in the batch that finds this too heavy and greasy looking. I will say that a little goes a very long way so the quick fix is to simply use less. If you have very dry hair or have days your hair just looks like it's had too much heat styling this is a great fix. For me it's best as a once in a while treatment because it is very rich. For everyday it's too much for me and easy to overdo. If you can manage how much you dispense and apply it's very good to restore the hair's shine and gives it a heathly look.
  • Ouai Hair Oil (c/o, available at Space NK) is a lightweight oil to tame frizz and seal ends. If the scent of most Ouai products didn't have that floral scent I think I would be more inclined to use them more frequently. It's a great lightweight oil so if you're one who has been wanting an oil that is truly lightweight but adds shine, this performs well. I like the packaging and the dispenser works well. The bottle is sized perfectly to fit easily into my hand and for that I give the line a huge thumbs up on all their styling products.
  • Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil (c/o, available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair) is in my top two for hair oils because of the lightweight texture and almost-camellia like scent. I can use this as a finishing product after styling and sometimes put it on at night as an overnight treatment. Lots of love for this one and no complaints. The one I have is part of a limited-edition collaboration hence the packaging, but you can buy it in the regular clear packaging.
  • Moroccanoil Moroccanoil (available at Nordstrom) is the other oil in my top two. It's a classic and I am beyond obsessed with the way it smells. I've gifted lots to friends and family and they all love this regardless of hair type.
  • Kerastase Elixir Ultime (available at Kerastase) has high ratings and raves which is why I ordered it. For me it's excellent but also has a slight floral powdery scent that actually fades after a few minutes so it's not a huge problem. For me it was not life changing but it's a solid oil you can use before styling, on wet or dry hair, after styling. It's multi-purpose and comes in a sturdy glass jar with a pump. People who've bought it seem to really love it. I have no complaints about it, it's just on my favorites list.
  • Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil (available at Space NK) is another long-time love. I feel like this is a good oil to add natural shine and make the hair look healthy. It comes in close third behind Moroccanoil and Shu Uemura. I've never been let down by anything Oribe and think it's very good.

Finishing creams and serums can perform similar to the oils listed above in the sense they add shine, give texture or smooth the hair.
  • Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Serum (c/o, available at Sephora) is one I received from SpaceNK but it's no longer listed on their website. Out of all the products I tested this is one of the few where my reaction was "I don't like it." The words "gloss" and "serum" made me think this would be a clear product. It's a beige cream. It's also very sweet smelling like a vanilla cake which I'm not a fan of. Texture was thick and felt sticky. It did work well to add shine and once on the hair it did not leave my hair feeling sticky. Scent is important to me and this one I just did not like. If you're a vanilla fan though you will probably like it.
  • Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream (available at Birchbox and Space NK) was previously in my Top 2 shine creams tied with Drybar's Chaser. I still love this one for soft shine and moisture. If you have super dry hair or ends that need some love this is a great one. I love the way it smells. It adds shine and makes hair look soft and healthy with a sheen. Doesn't get greasy or feel heavy.
  • Oribe Creme for Style (c/o, available at Space NK) is new to me but not a new product. This has replaced the Supershine Cream as my favorite cream. I like this one because it adds more texture and has a softer looking finish. If you like shine stick with the Supershine. If you feel like you want a softer yet textured look, the Creme for Style is it.
  • Drybar The Chaser (available at Sephora) has been such a long-time favorite I've lost count of how many tubes I've gone through. I've used this pre-heat styling and post styling. My husband has taken several of my tubes and claimed them as his own putting them in his drawers on his side of the bathroom. It adds just the right amount of shine while taming flyaways. LOVE.
  • Ouai Finishing Creme (c/o, available at Birchbox and Space NK) is a lightweight finishing cream to give what they call a "lived-in" look. It does exactly what it claims. I prefer something that looks a bit more polished so this one isn't really for me. It also has a floral scent that is super feminine. I'm not a huge fan of the scent but it isn't unpleasant.
Bottom line is I stand my point of view that everyone needs a little Oribe in their life, although the Drybar Chaser has never let me down.

These aren't really styling products but more treatment masks.
  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is something I tried late last year. I've gone through two tubs already. Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting Christophe Robin in person to learn more about his line and hair care philosophy. It was a joy to meet him and chat with him about hair care. I'll say up front the Cleansing Salt is probably best suited for those with thick hair like me. I use it once a week as a purifying treatment to rebalance and cleanse the scalp and hair. I use in place of shampoo on the days I use it. For color-treated hair it helps to soothe scalp irritation caused from chemicals. Leaves the hair and scalp feeling squeaky clean. He did suggest after a look at my hair that I follow with a rinse out conditioner since I have normal hair. I do follow occasionally with a conditioner on the ends.
  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is another cleansing mask. It's softer in finish and a bit less stripping than salt scrub. It has lemon and is suitable for color-treated hair. The trick to using this is for me to apply on dry hair/scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes and slowly add water to emulsify into a foam. Rinse and hair is left clean and soft and moisturized. I'm almost done with a tub and need to replace very soon.
  • Ouai Treatment Masque (available at Space NK) is one I reviewed before in my shampoo/conditioner post. I didn't really like the packaging design of these but after using them more frequently I have found I can look past it because this is one of the best restoring masks for the hair I've tried.

Last but not least, for texture and volume:
  • Edward Bess Black Sea Hair Hero (c/o, available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and QVC) is the best all around do-it-all hair product for me. I use it pre-heat stying or after to add shine and texture to ends. It's the best smelling hair product I've ever tried which is hard to describe but fresh. My brother helped me shoot this a couple years ago (time flies!) and to this day it's still a go-to. The bottle is huge and a little goes a long way.
  • Ouai Dry Shampoo (c/o available at Birchbox and Space NK) I rarely use dry shampoo. I've tried a number of brands and at the end of the day I think the concept is a bit gross. I wash my hair daily and I know some do not have the time to wash and dry it daily or find it is too stripping for the hair, but for me washing daily is a must. Still there are occasions where I'm just dead tired or didn't wake up early enough to wash and dry my hair. The Ouai Dry Shampoo is the best one I've tried. It doesn't leave a white film or cast on the hair and absorbs oil.
  • Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray (c/o, available at Space NK) is the best volumizing product I've tried. I've mentioned before even though I have thick hair, finding a product that will actually add volume has been almost impossible for me. Most just don't add any volume. This one adds noticeable volume. It's a blow dry mousse and works. Leaves the hair thick and volumized all the way through.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (available at Birchbox and Space NK) is hands down one of the best texturizers I've tried. I love the way it smells and adds volume. I use it as a dry shampoo occasionally to give a lift to roots.
  • Shu Uemura Ample Angora Volumizing Light Foam (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair) is another winner for the volumizing category. Perhaps it's really only the foam kinds of products that work on thicker hair to really add volume. It's a bit more lightweight compared to the Bumble and Bumble product so there's a bit less volume with the Shu Uemura one. It smells great, volumizes, combs through hair easily and isn't sticky.
  • Christophe Robin Instant Volumizing Hair Mist with Rose Water (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is one of the best smelling hair sprays I've tried. I've mentioned I do not like the florals from Ouai, this Christophe Robin has rosewater so it smells like roses but it's the good kind of rose. On my thick hair it doesn't add a ton of volume but it smooths everything out and leaves the hair looking and smelling amazing.
In sum, I tested about 30 hair styling products. With the exception of the tried and true favorites like the Drybar Chaser, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and Edward Bess Hair Hero, the remaining new to me items have been tested for several months. Summer humidity is relatively mild in Southern California so I can't comment on how these hold up in extremely hot or humid weather. While traveling last summer through Europe and also earlier this year in New York, I barely used any styling product - it was so hot my hair air dried very quickly and it felt too hot to wear any serums or creams. After extensive testing, my top picks would include the following:
  • Best finishing product: Oribe Creme for Style and Edward Bess Hair Hero
  • Best oil: Moroccanoil and Shu Uemura Essence Absolue
  • Best heat pre-treatments for blow drying: Shu Uemura Wonder Worker, Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate and Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer
  • Best volumizer: Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora
  • Best beachy spray or air-dry sprays: Oribe Apres Beach Spray and Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion
  • Best lightweight shine products: Oribe Supershine and Moroccanoil
Note if you have fine, color treated or even thicker or curly hair, some of the ones that worked for me may not work for you. As always I'd love to hear about your favorites regardless of hair type! Please share in the comments :) I'm pretty stocked up on hair care for the moment but it's something I tend to use up relatively fast.

Don't forget that Space NK is having their Autumn Beauty Edit (huge GWP with any $250+ purchase), Barneys New York Love Yourself is going on (GWP bag with any $200+ purchase) and also next week Bergdorf Goodman will have their Rewarding Beauty event so if you have things on your list you may want to group your purchases to take advantage of the events this month. Also not on sale or part of any events, but Net-A-Porter has a Christophe Robin Essentials Travel Size Set which is nice if you want to try out items before splurging on the full size.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. I'm not an expert with styling in any sense and I know some of you are probably better versed when it comes to hair care. For those who are like me I hope this post helps from the perspective of a beauty junkie who really doesn't know much about hair care products.

Press samples included indicated with a c/o.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Beauty and Skincare Favorites

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

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

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


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